In both the public eye and in the view of law enforcement authorities, intentional mistreatment of a child is considered an especially serious offense. State law allows for significant penalties to be levied against someone convicted of even a first child abuse offense, with increasingly substantial sanctions possible for repeat offenders or for aggravated actions.

You may have an easier time proactively dealing with such an allegation with assistance from a Hackensack child abuse defense lawyer. A dedicated defense attorney could help explain the nature of your charges, structure a comprehensive defense strategy, and work diligently to pursue a positive case outcome on your behalf.

How Laws in Hackensack Define Child Abuse

State law criminalizes abuse, abandonment, cruelty, and neglect under the same set of statutes, with specific definitions for each form of mistreatment outlined in New Jersey Revised Statutes §9:6-1. Any of the following acts may constitute child abuse:

  • Giving up custody of a child outside of legal guidelines for doing so
  • Allowing a child to be employed in a physically hazardous or immoral occupation
  • Use of obscene language or performance of indecent or unlawful acts as the child’s parent or guardian in that child’s presence
  • Allowing another person to perform immoral acts in a child’s presence
  • Using excessive physical restraint on a child
  • Intentionally depriving a child of normal social contact with others

By contrast, abandonment includes willfully forsaking a child, allowing the child to be exposed without protection, or failing to care for a child to an extent that they must be protected by public agencies, private entities, or individuals. Likewise, child cruelty may involve inflicting unnecessarily severe corporal punishment or unnecessary physical or mental suffering on them, habitually tormenting them, and more.

Finally, state law defines child neglect as denying or failing to provide them food, clothing, education, medical care, or a safe living environment. If an individual has been accused of any of these child abuse charges, retaining a defense attorney in Hackensack as soon as possible should be a priority.

Possible Penalties for Child Abuse Convictions

Engaging in any of the behaviors defined in NJ Rev Stat §9:6-1 is a fourth-degree criminal offense. Accordingly, a conviction on basic child abuse charges could lead to maximum sanctions of $10,000 in fines and 18 months of imprisonment, as well as other penalties unique to child abuse offenses such as restraining orders. However, other types of criminal acts like aggravated assault, sexual assault, criminal sexual contact, and endangering the welfare of a child may result in even more severe penalties.

In addition to these charges, the Department of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP) may also try to get involved. Fortunately, a child abuse lawyer in Hackensack could protect the individual’s rights as a parent or guardian while providing guidance regarding their available legal options.

Consult a Hackensack Child Abuse Defense Attorney Right Away

Being accused of abusing, neglecting, or otherwise mistreating your child can lead to severe problems in both legal and personal spheres. To preserve your future prospects and your family life in this delicate situation, you may need help from a legal professional who has successfully handled cases similar to yours in the past.

A knowledgeable Hackensack child abuse defense lawyer could provide steadfast legal representation throughout every stage of your criminal case. Call today for a private consultation.