Abuse laws are strictly enforced in Fairfax and throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. However, just because you may be charged with an abuse offense that does not mean that you will automatically be found guilty. A criminal charge is merely an indication of the Commonwealth maintaining there is sufficient evidence to hold a trial.
If you are under investigation or have been charged with abuse, contact a Fairfax abuse lawyer who has experience handling cases similar to your own as soon as possible. Here is more information on criminal defense in Fairfax, Virginia.
The type of criminal charges that fall within the broader category of abuse are many. They include, but are not necessarily limited to the following.
In Fairfax, the term “child abuse” is a general term that includes any number of harmful acts inflicted upon a child by a parent, guardian, or anyone responsible for the care of the child. For instance, Virginia Code Section 18.2-371.1 includes serious injuries such as:
Abuse laws also include the abandonment of an infant and willful neglect. The term neglect refers to the failure to provide a child with any of the following basic needs:
Conviction of abuse charges requires proof that the accused acted willfully or intentionally omitted or refused to care for the child’s health. A Fairfax abuse lawyer can challenge the allegations against you in court in an effort to prevent prosecutors from proving their case.
Virginia Code Section 18.2-369 states that it is illegal for any responsible individual to abuse or neglect an incapacitated adult. The term “abuse” refers to willfully and knowingly committing an act that causes physical pain to someone who is incapacitated as punishment. This does not include actions such as physical restraint that may be required for a person’s treatment or care.
The term “incapacitated adult” refers to anyone over the age 18 years old who is impaired in any of the following ways:
It is also illegal to abuse animals in the Commonwealth. Section 18.2-403.1, which is a Class 1 misdemeanor, refers to cruelty to animals, transporting them under certain conditions, violations of certain standards requires of animal boarding and grooming, and making a false claim or receiving money as a result of a false claim pertaining to compensation for livestock and poultry killed by dogs.
Conviction of cruelty to a child will result in a Class 6 felony and may include one year in jail, at a judge or jury’s discretion, or one to five years in prison.
Child abuse under Section 18.2-371.1 is a Class 4 felony. Those convicted face two to 10 years in prison. You also may also have to pay a fine of $100,000. A lesser charge may be filed if the accused’s actions were regarding child care were so blatantly deliberate and culpable that the actions reflected a reckless disregard for human life.
This is a Class 6 felony and it can result in one to five years in prison or, at the discretion of a judge or jury, up to 12 months in jail and/or up to $2,500 in fines.
Those accused of abusing an incapacitated adult face a possible Class 1 misdemeanor that can result in up to one year in jail and/or a $2,500 fine. A second conviction for the same offense rises to the level of a Class 6 felony, which can result in one to five years in prison or, at a judge’s discretion, up to one year in jail and/or a $2,500 fine.
A Class 4 felony may be charged if the abuse resulted in bodily injury or disease. If you are convicted of this crime, you face two to 10 years in prison and a fine. If the abuse results in the incapacitated person’s death, it rises to a Class 3 felony, which carries five to 20 years in prison.
Due to the severe nature of these charges, it may be in the best interest of those accused to contact a Fairfax abuse lawyers as soon as possible.
The defense that your attorney may exercise depends in large part on the type of abuse you are charged with committing. Sometimes abuse charges result from false accusations. This, unfortunately, is not uncommon when couples are involved in bitter custody disputes and divorce proceedings. A skilled Fairfax abuse lawyer will be able to build a defense based upon character witnesses and other evidence that can be used to prove your innocence.
Sometimes, abuse cases stem simple mistakes or errors, rather than intent to harm a child, incapacitated adult, or animal. Again, a Fairfax abuse attorney who has experience defending against the variety of abuse charges that exist in Virginia is best-suited to represent your interests.
Every case, however, is unique and requires a consultation with a well-qualified attorney. Call today for a free consultation.
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