Utah Criminal Defense Attorney
UTAH CHILD ABUSE FELONIES
Utah Child Abuse can be charged several ways, but you will be charged with a 2nd Degree Felony if they allege you intentionally caused a child under 18 years old serious physical injury. A 3rd Degree Felony charge occurs if you recklessly cause a child a child serious physical injury. What constitutes intentionality or reckless conduct is left to the jury to decide.
Concurrent Child Welfare Proceedings.
Almost always, concurrently filed with Felony Child Abuse charges will be a civil child welfare proceeding in Juvenile Court to remove the children from your care. These child welfare proceedings are completely separate proceedings with a different set of hearings and not considered to be criminal in nature. Anything you say in a child welfare proceeding can and may be used against you in your criminal proceedings. Your criminal defense attorney will always want to either monitor the child welfare proceedings or be your attorney of record in these proceedings so that your legal rights are protected.
Serious Physical Injury to a Child.
Serious physical injury is defined in the Utah Child Abuse statutes. The essence of the definition turns on injuries past minor cuts, bruising, failure to thrive or poor, dirty, and negligent living conditions.
Serious physical injury to a child are broken bones, torture, serious emotional harm, conduct which may cause substantial risk of death, brain bleeding, shaken baby syndrome, burns, injuries causing permanent disfigurement, or starvation, to name a few.
Defenses to Child Abuse.
Reasonable child discipline is a defense to child abuse charges. Additionally you can use force to protect yourself, defend others and to protect the child, or to remove the child from holding a dangerous weapon.