What Do You Do If You Are Under Investigation in San Antonio, TX for Child Abuse?
How Do You Beat A Wrongful Child Abuse Accusation in San Antonio, Texas?
The Locke Law Group defends those accused of child abuse in San Antonio, Texas and every county in South Central Texas. If you are in San Antonio, Texas and are accused of child abuse you need to call a lawyer immediately. This usually happens when you a receive a phone call from Child Protective Services (CPS) or a detective asking you about an injury to a child. This post is meant to serve as a guide for all of those who believe they might be under investigation for injury to a child. As always, there is no harm in calling a lawyer to schedule an appointment. Lawyers are required to keep everything you tell them confidential. These days, we are seeing clients by video and doing many consultations by phone. Give us a call today, we are ready to help.
Medical Professionals are required to report suspected child abuse
What is Injury to a Child?
In Texas, a person commits an offense if they intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly cause serious bodily injury or bodily injury to a child (someone under the age of 14). Serious bodily injury is defined as injury that creates a substantial risk of death, serious permanent disfigurement, or the protracted loss or impairment of a bodily member or bodily organ. Bodily Injury is any injury that causes pain. If the serious bodily injury is caused intentionally or knowingly, the crime is a first-degree felony with punishment ranges from five to 99 years or life in prison. If the serious bodily injury is caused recklessly, it is a second-degree felony (2-20) and a third degree (2-10) if it is only bodily injury and caused knowingly or intelligently. If the bodily injury occurs with criminal negligence, it is a State Jail Felony and the range of punishment is six months to two years.
How do Investigations Begin?
There are three ways someone gets investigated in San Antonio, Texas for Injury to a Child: First, the child is taken to the emergency room; second, the child reports an injury, or the child is observed with an injury by a third party, like a teacher or a day care worker; or third, a report is made by an ex-spouse or ex-wife to Child Protective Services. When this happens, health care workers, CPS agents, pediatricians are all trained to begin gathering evidence. How do they gather that evidence? They begin asking questions about the child’s caretakers. Most people who are not used to being involved in the system cooperate with these investigations. This cooperation increases the chances that you or a loved one will be wrongfully accused of hurting your child.
How does Cooperation Increase the Chance of a Wrongful Accusation?
It is not uncommon for a child to be injured and the caretaker not know how the injury occurred. When the caretaker is asked to explain the injury, they try to be helpful and offer what they believe to be rational and reasonable explanations. What they don’t understand is that many times the medical professional is filtering everything back to the police. If the explanation cannot or does not explain the injuries, this is taken as a significant sign of guilt. So, if your child is injured, get medical help immediately, but don’t offer to explain how the injury occurred, especially if you are unsure of how your child was injured.
How to Stay Silent During a Medical Investigation of an Injury to your Child
When your child is hurt, staying silent is difficult. However, explaining what happened (especially when you are unsure) will do little to help your child, and increases the chances that you will get accused of something. Once your child is getting adequate medical care, the doctors and nurses can observe his or her condition and provide treatment. They do not need to know exactly what happened (or for you to tell them information that may be incomplete or inaccurate because of your emotional state). Simply tell them that you have a lawyer and that you do not want to talk to anyone.
How Can a Lawyer Help During a Child Abuse Investigation?
Accusations of injury to a child are very serious. The decisions that you make in the hours and days after such an accusation is made can affect the rest of your life. An aggressive defense attorney can provide a much-needed buffer between yourself, the CPS workers, the caregivers – and maybe even between yourself and your spouse. We have represented hundreds of people in serious situations such as this. Our actions have led to charges being dismissed, charges that are not filed, families reunited and other satisfactory outcomes for our clients. These can be terrifying accusations, but with an experienced attorney by your side you can minimize the consequences you are facing and increase the likelihood of achieving a satisfactory result for your family.
Finally, if you suspect Child Abuse you should immediately report it to CPS, the Department of Family Protective Services or the Police.