The charge of child abuse and neglect is obviously a very serious one. Beyond the threat of jail time, defendants face the prospect of possibly losing custody of their children if convicted. If you have been charged with any degree of child abuse or neglect in Tennessee, contact Gregory P. Issacs for a free consultation right away.
Child abuse and neglect are seperate laws in Tennessee and have different definitions. In Tennessee, child abuse requires that –
- A person knowingly treats a child less than eighteen years old in such a manner that the child sustains an injury
When being charged with child abuse, it does not matter if the defendant knew that their actions would result in harm to the child. This charge is considered a Class A misdemeanor, carrying a sentence of a maximum 1 year in prison and no more than a $2,500 fine. If the child in the case is six years or age or younger, however, those penalties can be doubled.
There are three elements that need to be satisfied in order for a person to be charged with child neglect. These are –
- that a person knowingly neglected a child
- that the child’s age is within the applicable range
- that the neglect adversely affected the child’s health and welfare
Child neglect in Tennessee is a Class A misdemeanor, as with child abuse. Just like in the child abuse situation, the penalties are increased when the child is aged six years or less.
Aggravated Child Abuse, Neglect, and Endangerment
The charges above can be deemed to be aggravated when they meet any of the following conditions –
- the act of abuse or neglect results in serious bodily injury to the child; or
- the act of neglect or endangerment results in serious bodily injury to the child; or
- a deadly weapon, dangerous instrument, or controlled substance is used to accomplish the act of abuse, neglect or endangerment; or
- the act of abuse, neglect or endangerment was particularly heinous, atrocious, or cruel or involved the infliction of torture to the victim
Any of the above group of aggravated charges are classified as Class B felonies in the state of Tennessee. A Class B felony conviction comes with a prison sentence of anywhere between eight and thirty years and a fine of up to $25,000.
If the child is eight years of age or less, or is vulnerable because of a handicap of any kind, the charge can be a Class A felony. Class A felonies bring with them a sentence of 15 to 60 years and up to a $50,000 fine.
Gregory P. Issacs is an experienced criminal defense attorney that is prepared to defend you against child abuse and neglect charges. You will want to start organizing your defense as soon as possible, so give us a call at 865-673-4953 for your free consultation.