North Carolina Child Abuse Defense Lawyers
Raleigh Child Abuse Lawyers
Children are precious to all of us. Our basic, humane instinct is to want to protect them from any harm. That is why child abuse allegations can evoke such emotional reactions. When people hear that something bad has happened to a child, they will often jump to conclusions and rush to judgment – without stopping to consider the presumption of innocence.
With more than a half-century of combined legal experience, including an extensive background with cases involving violent crimes, Raleigh criminal defense attorneys Howard Kurtz and Seth Blum have a strong understanding of child abuse allegations. They know how important it is for people to avoid the rush to judgment, to gather information, and to analyze all of the facts in a child abuse case before casting blame.
Dedicated to Protecting Your Rights
Felony and misdemeanor child abuse charges can arise from events that occurred in a much different way than prosecutors portray them. For instance, where a child has suffered a serious injury, a prosecutor may press ahead with a child abuse case simply because the prosecutor has no other explanation for the injury. Some people even use child abuse allegations as weapons in a custody battle or as retaliation for hurt feelings.
If you have been charged with child abuse in Raleigh or the surrounding area, our legal team at Kurtz & Blum, PLLC, will not jump to any conclusions. Instead, we will listen to you. We will thoroughly investigate all aspects of your case, and we will develop a sophisticated legal strategy to protect your rights and defend you. Contact us today to learn more.
How a Lawyer Can Help If You Are Charged with Child Abuse in Raleigh
If you are suspected of child abuse, or if you have been charged with any kind of child abuse, you should not discuss it with anyone, including child protective services, law enforcement, or even your spouse. Instead, you should contact Kurtz & Blum immediately. We will never charge for an initial consultation in a criminal case.
Our legal team understands how even an allegation of child abuse can jeopardize custody of your child, tarnish your personal and professional reputation, and bring great stress and anxiety to your life. We are in your corner. We will do everything we can to protect your future and pursue the best possible outcome for you.
For instance, we will use North Carolina’s discovery laws to make sure that all evidence which the district attorney’s office plans to use against you is, in fact, turned over to you. We will carefully review the evidence and conduct additional investigation. In doing so, we can identify problems with the prosecution’s case and establish a solid defense strategy.
Fighting to Dismiss or Reduce Charges
Relying on the evidence, we can also work with prosecutors and pursue either a pre-trial dismissal or reduction of the charges against you. Depending on the circumstances, we can also seek a plea agreement that would minimize the consequences of a conviction. We will always provide frank advice about any plea offer. At Kurtz & Blum, we are straight-shooters with a reputation for being sincere in our dealings with clients.
Fighting for You at Trial
If your case goes to trial, our skilled litigators will be prepared to fight for you. In a child abuse case, for example, it is important to understand the biomechanical causes of injuries and to be ready to challenge the prosecutor’s medical experts and/or present experts on your behalf.
We take a collaborative approach to criminal defense. Everyone on our team will look at your child abuse case from different angles, including our attorneys who focus in areas such as family law. Our approach allows us to tackle even the most challenging cases.
Throughout your case, we will keep you informed and return your calls within 24 hours. We want you to know that your case – and your future – are important to us.
Types of Child Abuse Charges in North Carolina
As you move forward with your defense, you will need to understand the specific child abuse charge against you. Under North Carolina law, the type of child abuse charge generally will depend on the specific conduct that you allegedly engaged in as well as the extent of harm that the child has purportedly suffered.
We provide a summary below of different types of child abuse charges. As you will see, even the slightest detail can make a major difference in the charge you face. So, it will be crucial for you to work with a defense team such as Kurtz & Blum that will focus on those details.
Misdemeanor Child Abuse
To convict you of this Class A1 misdemeanor, the prosecution must prove that you are either a parent or a person in charge of caring for or supervising a child under age 16, and that you, other than by accident, inflicted physical injury; or created or allowed a “substantial risk” of physical injury to the child. Any contact that would cause physical pain could be deemed a “physical injury.”
However, the prosecution does not need to prove that an injury actually occurred. If you merely left a child in a situation where physical injury could occur, could may lead to a misdemeanor child abuse charge. Our attorneys have often seen parents charged with child abuse simply because they left their children unattended for mere moments.
The prosecution can also allege that a parent, guardian, or other figure contributed to a juvenile’s being delinquent, undisciplined, abused or neglected – regardless of whether a court has actually adjudicated the child as such. This is a Class 1 misdemeanor.
Finally, you should know that North Carolina law requires any person or institution who suspects that a child has been abused or neglected (or has become a dependent), or that a child has died as the result of maltreatment, to report the case to the local Department of Social Services. If you “knowingly or wantonly” fail to report it, or if you prevent another person from making the report, you could be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
Felony Child Abuse
To be charged with the following five types of felony child abuse, you must be the parent or someone who provides care or supervision to a child under age 16:
- Child abuse inflicting serious physical injury – This is a Class D felony. The prosecution must prove that you intentionally inflicted serious physical injury on the child or intentionally committed an assault that resulted in serious physical injury. A “serious physical injury” is any physical injury that causes great pain and suffering. The term includes serious mental injury.
- Child abuse inflicting serious bodily injury or mental or emotional injury – This is a Class B2 felony. The prosecution must show that you intentionally caused the child to suffer serious bodily injury or permanent or protracted loss or impairment of any mental or emotional function. A “serious bodily injury” includes bodily injury that creates a substantial risk of death or that causes serious permanent disfigurement, coma, a permanent or protracted condition that causes extreme pain, or a permanent or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ, or that results in prolonged hospitalization.
- Child abuse by willful act or grossly negligent omission – If the prosecution proves that you did not act intentionally but rather committed a willful act or grossly negligent omission that showed “a reckless disregard for human life,” and the child suffered serious physical injury as a result, you could be convicted of a Class G felony. If the act or omission caused serious bodily injury, the charge would be elevated to a Class E felony.
- Child abuse by prostitution – This is a Class D felony. The prosecution must prove that you committed, permitted or encouraged any act of prostitution with or by the child.
Additionally, you could be charged with child abuse by sexual act if you are the parent or legal guardian of a child who is under age 16 who is accused of committing or allowing the commission of any sexual act upon the child. Some people refer to this charge as “child molestation.” It is a Class D felony.
Our Experienced Raleigh Child Abuse Defense Attorneys Are Here for You
Prosecutors in North Carolina work aggressively to convict defendants charged with child abuse. To protect your rights, your family and potentially your freedom, you will need a knowledgeable and understanding criminal defense lawyer in your corner to fight fiercely for you.
Schedule a free consultation with the experienced legal team at Kurtz & Blum today. Our Raleigh child abuse defense lawyers will carefully review your case, answer your questions and provide an honest assessment of all defense options available to you.
Child Abuse Defense Video Transcript
Seth A Blum, Partner
Most people are horrified when they simply hear that someone has been accused of child abuse. As human beings we all understand how important it is to protect our children from harm. But in our zeal to protect children emotions sometime cloud our judgment when it comes to the presumption of innocence.
Some child abuse cases now involve conduct as minor as leaving a child unattended for mere moments. Other violent crime cases arise when a child suffers a serious injury and no obvious explanation for the cause of that injury can easily be found.
Even though the law requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt before someone can be convicted of a crime, in child abuse cases, absence of proof of accident can be seen to equal actual proof of guilt.
These cases in particular require a sophisticated understanding of the biomechanical causes of injury and require skilled and attorneys who have experience working with medical experts.
Howard A. Kurtz, Partner
My partner and I have almost 40 years of combined criminal trial experience. I personally have handled child abuse cases since 1992. We have worked both with and against medical experts and we have helped many clients who had charges just like yours.
If you are suspected of, or have been charged with any kind of child abuse, you should not discuss it with anyone but your lawyer. This includes child protective services, law enforcement and even your spouse. Call us immediately. There is no fee for the initial consultation. At Kurtz & Blum, PLLC, We’re in Your Corner.
Our dedicated criminal defense lawyers help people throughout Wake County, North Carolina. We frequently handle offenses arising out of the following cities: New Hope, Garner, Apex, Rolesville, Fuquay-Varina, Cary, Knightdale, Raleigh, Wendell, Morrisville, Zebulon, Wake Forest and Holly Springs.