Laws & Facts – Injury to a Child Case.
Have you been arrested for Injury to a Child in Fort Worth or in the surrounding cities in Tarrant County, Texas? Has a Tarrant County police detective called you and accused you of abusing your child or excessively disciplining your child? If so, you are facing a serious criminal charge that must be defended zealously by an experienced criminal defense attorney with experience dealing with Injury to a Child cases in Tarrant County, Texas.
According to Texas Penal Code, Title 5: Offenses Against the Person, Chapter 22: Assaultive Offenses, Section 22.04, the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office will be required to prove the following elements of Injury to a Child, Elderly Individual, or Disabled Individual beyond a reasonable doubt:
A person commits the offense of Injury to a Child, Elderly Individual, or Disabled Individual if he intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence, by act or intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly by omission, causes to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual:
- serious bodily injury;
- serious mental deficiency, impairment, or injury; or
- bodily injury.
In order for the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office to sustain a charge of Injury to a Child, Elderly Individual, or Disabled Individual, it is important that the specific definitions defined by the Texas Penal Code apply and be proven in your case. For instance, according to Texas Penal Code, Title 5, Section 22.04, In this section:
- “Child” means a person 14 years of age or younger.
- “Elderly individual” means a person 65 years of age or older.
- “Disabled individual” means a person older than 14 years of age who by reason of age or physical or mental disease, defect, or injury is substantially unable to protect himself from harm or to provide food, shelter, or medical care for himself.
Making a determination as to the severity of the charge and possible range of punishment for Injury to a Child, Elderly Individual, or Disabled Individual requires proof of criminal intent. The Texas Penal Code states that Injury to a Child, Elderly Individual, or Disabled Individual is a felony of the first degree when the conduct is committed intentionally or knowingly. A felony of the first degree is punishable by a term in prison of not less than 5 years but up to 99 years or life in prison. When the conduct is engaged in recklessly, the offense is a felony of the second degree. A felony of the second degree is punishable by a term in prison of not less than 2 years but not more than 20 years in prison. If the alleged injury is not serious and the conduct was committed intentionally or knowingly, the crime will be classified as a third degree felony punishable by a term in prison of not less than 2 years but not more than 10 years in prison.
One of the most common fact scenarios where a Tarrant County citizen is charged with Injury to a Child is when the police allege that you excessively disciplined your child. The Texas Penal Code states that Injury to a Child is a state jail felony when the person acts with criminal negligence. A state jail felony is punishable by a term in prison of not less than 180 days but not more than 2 years in prison.
It is important to understand that if you have reasonably disciplined your child, you are not guilty of Injury to a Child. Regardless of anyone’s opinion on spanking or corporal punishment, you have a right to discipline your children under Texas law. As long as the discipline was reasonable, spanking is legal. If you are facing a charge of Injury to a Child, Elderly Individual, or Disabled Individual it is imperative that you contact an experienced criminal attorney in Tarrant County that has a proven track record of handling Injury to a Child cases in the courts of Tarrant County. At The Hampton Law Firm, I have successfully represented clients charged with Injury to a Child and have been able to have a number of cases no-billed by a Tarrant County grand jury or reduced to a lower level criminal offense and keep a conviction off my client’s record.
Call The Hampton Law Firm now for a free consultation to discuss your legal rights and options under Texas law. Contact Jeff Hampton at 817-877-5200.