Child abuse laws in Texas cover a wide range of offenses against minors in addition to just physical assault and battery. Other offenses categorized as child abuse include molestation, and other types of child endangerment. Texas law requires certain individuals to report suspected child abuse, including teachers, doctors, and other professionals who work with children.
Texas law defines child abuse as any of the following:
· Mental or emotional injuries that result in material impairment to the child’s growth, development, or psychological functioning
· Causing or failing to prevent physical injury that results in substantial harm to the child
· Sexual conduct that is detrimental to a child’s mental, emotional, or physical welfare
· Allowing a child to use a controlled substance
Tex. Pen. Code § 22.04 defines the criminal offense of injury to a child as intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence, causing serious bodily injury, serious mental deficiency, impairment, or injury, or bodily injury. If the offense is committed intentionally or knowingly and results in serious bodily injury or serious mental impairment, then the charge is a first degree felony. If the act is committed recklessly, the charge is a second degree felony. If the offense is committed intentionally or knowingly and result in bodily injury, the charge is a third degree felony and if it is committed recklessly, the charge is a state jail felony. Anyone who acts with criminal negligence in causing bodily injury to another also commits a state jail felony.
The penalties for criminal offenses involving minors are almost uniformly more serious than those that do not involve minors. As a result, anyone accused of a crime involving child abuse may face a potentially stiff sentence, including years of incarceration. For instance, a first degree felony could result in a prison sentence ranging from five years to life. A state jail felony charge, on the other hand, could result in a sentence ranging from 180 days to two years.
When you are charged with any type of criminal offense in the state of Texas, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent your interests from the very beginning of your case. We are here to evaluate the facts surrounding your charges, present your options, and provide you with the strongest defense possible. Contact Peek & Toland at (512) 474-4445 today and set up an appointment to speak with our legal team.