Child Abuse

Injury to a Child

Side view of sad little girl hugging knee, sobbing with head bowed and crying sitting alone on bed in bedroom. Unhappy child feeling pressure, thinking of kid problems. Concept of child depression.

 

All assault offenses in Texas involve alleged offenders causing physical contact or bodily injury, or threatening to cause bodily injury to another person. When an alleged assault results in bodily injury to a child 14 years of age or younger, the crime becomes injury to a child.

 

Injury to a child is a serious felony offense in Texas that can result in very lengthy prison sentences and enormous fines. Often prosecutors across Texas will take a hard stance on criminal offenses involving child victims. Many District Attorney Offices have specialized units designed specifically with the purpose of prosecuting individuals charged with injury to a child. These prosecutors receive additional training and education to help them to be better equipped to navigate the complexities of these types of cases.

Attorney for Injury to a Child Arrests in Fort Worth, TX

Were you arrested for an alleged injury to a child offense anywhere in the DFW area? You should not make any kind of statement to authorities without legal counsel. Contact Gebhardt & Eppes, PLLC right away for help protecting your legal rights.

 

Townsend, Gebhardt & Eppes, PLLC are experienced criminal defense lawyers in Fort Worth who represent clients accused of violent crimes in Cleburne, Arlington, Weatherford, Fort Worth, and many other nearby communities in Tarrant County, Parker County, and Johnson County. Call today (817) 502-3600 to have our attorneys review your case and help you understand all of your legal options during a free initial consultation.

Texas Injury to a Child Charges

An alleged offender commits the crime of injury to a child under Texas Penal Code § 22.04 if he or she intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence by act or intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly by omission, causes to a child:

  • Serious bodily injury;
  • Serious mental deficiency, impairment, or injury; or
  • bodily injury

 

It is important to define some of the specific language above. Serious bodily injury is codified in Texas Penal Code § 1.07(46). This section defines serious bodily injury as “bodily injury that creates a substantial risk of death or that causes death, serious permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ”

 

For purposes of omission contained in the criminal offense of Injury to a child, the actor has assumed care, custody, or control if he or she has by act, words, or course of conduct acted so as to cause a reasonable person to conclude that he has accepted responsibility for protection, food, shelter, and medical care for a child. This is clearly defined in Texas Penal Code § 22.04 (d).

 

Texas Penal Code § 22.04 also governs those actors that in the healthcare industry who have assumed roles in providing care to children and can equally be charged as described by the language above. But typically, these offenses are taking place in the home. The vast majority of injury to a child cases are alleged to be committed by a loved one or a family member residing in the same household or by a member of the family not living under the same roof.

 

Generally, injury to a child is classified as a third-degree felony. Under Texas Penal Code § 22.04. When an individual is accused of committing a third-degree injury to a child the culpable mental state in intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing bodily injury.  If an individual is accused of committing injury to a child by criminal negligence, this reduces the degree of offense to that of a state jail felony. If an accused is charged with intentionally or knowingly causing serious bodily injury as defined above or serious mental deficiency, impairment, or injury they would be looking at a first-degree felony. If their actions are merely reckless in causing serious bodily injury or serious mental deficiency, impairment, or injury they would be charged as a second-degree felony. As discussed above all of these offenses can be charged by committing specific acts or by omission, which makes this a particularly interesting offense.

Injury to a Child Penalties in Tarrant County, Texas

Convictions for injury to a child carry very steep consequences. As mentioned above if an individual is convicted of causing bodily injury to a child by criminal negligence they may be sentenced to a minimum of 180 days to 2 years in the State Jail Facility and up to a $10,000 fine. State Jail prison. State Jail was created to house lesser felony offenses typically dealing with drugs and lower level property crimes.

 

If convicted of intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily injury to a child an individual could be sentenced to a minimum of 2 years up to 10 years in prison and face up to a $10,000 fine.

 

If convicted of recklessly causing serious bodily injury or serious mental deficiency, impairment, or injury they could be sentence to a minimum of 2 years up to 20 years in prison and face up to a $10,000 fine.

 

If convicted of intentionally or knowingly causing serious bodily injury or serious mental deficiency, impairment, or injury they could be sentenced to a minimum of 5 years up to 99 years or life in the Texas Department of Corrections and face up to a $10,000 fine.

 

In addition to incarceration and fines, people convicted of felony offenses in Texas can also experience a number of other collateral consequences of a felony conviction that can include possible loss of firearm rights as well as the revocation, suspension, or denial of professional licenses.

Texas Resources for Injury to a Child Offenses

TX Department of Family and Protective Services  – The Department of Family Protective Services governs Child Protective Services (CPS). “Child Protective Investigations (CPI) examines reports of child abuse or neglect to determine if any child in the family has been abused or neglected. Investigators decide if there are any threats to the safety of all children in the home. If so, they determine whether the parents are willing and able to adequately manage those threats to keep children safe. If DFPS decides that children aren’t safe, the investigator starts protective services.”

CASA of Tarrant County – Learn more about CASA of Tarrant County and the Children they serve. “Each year, thousands of children in Tarrant County are confirmed victims of child abuse and neglect. These children have experienced terrible trauma, and their lives are turned upside down. Child Protective Services takes legal responsibility for them, and may place them in a foster home or other facility. Due to too few foster homes, siblings are often split up into different places. Children are rarely able to stay in their own schools, day cares, or communities. Everything they have known is gone. Through no fault of their own, these abused children have become a part of an overburdened child welfare system.”

Gebhardt & Eppes, PLLC | Fort Worth Injury to a Child Defense Lawyer

If you were arrested in Fort Worth or Tarrant and Parker County for an alleged injury to a child, it is in your best interest to not say anything to authorities until you have legal representation. Gebhardt & Eppes, PLLC defends individuals in communities throughout Tarrant County, Parker County, and Johnson County, including Fort Worth, Weatherford, Cleburne, Arlington, and many other surrounding areas.

 

Fort Worth criminal defense attorneys Townsend, Gebhardt & Eppes, PLLC can fight to help you achieve the most favorable outcome to your case, including having your criminal charged minimized or eliminated. They can provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case as soon as you call (817) 502-3600 or complete an online form to set up a free, confidential consultation.

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