YOU MUST FIGHT A CHARGE OF CHILD ABUSE
Pennsylvania revised its child abuse laws in 2019 after a grand jury reported that hundreds of child abuse cases had been covered up in this state for decades. If you’re charged with child abuse under the new laws, you must contact a Lemoyne defense attorney at once.
One bill signed by Governor Tom Wolf abolished the statute of limitations for prosecutors to bring criminal child abuse charges. Another new law increases the penalties for persons who are required to report suspected child abuse but fail to do so.
WHAT CONSTITUTES CHILD ABUSE IN PENNSYLVANIA?
Perhaps no crimes are more aggressively prosecuted in the state of Pennsylvania than crimes against children. Child abuse in this state is defined as any or all of the actions listed here:
- any act that is not an accident that results in serious physical injury to a child
- any sexual abuse or exploitation
- any serious physical neglect of a child by prolonged or repeated lack of supervision
- any failure to provide the necessities of life for a child
A single incident of child abuse, in most cases, will be charged as a first-degree misdemeanor punishable upon conviction with up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
If a defendant has engaged in ongoing conduct that has continuously endangered a child, the charge is a third-degree felony punishable upon conviction with up to seven years in prison and/or a fine of up to $15,000.
WHEN CAN PARENTAL RIGHTS BE TERMINATED?
Parental rights in the state of Pennsylvania can be terminated by a court in the following circumstances:
- if a parent leaves his or her child with someone else for six continuous months and refuses to acknowledge parental responsibilities
- if the parent of a child in foster care can’t be identified or located and fails to claim the child for three months
- if a child has been placed with a state agency because of abuse or neglect, and after six months, a parent has not remedied the conditions that led to the removal
- hif a newborn child is abandoned for four continuous months, the parent knows that the child exists, and the parent fails to provide financial support
If you’re a parent in Pennsylvania, any conviction for any child abuse, neglect, or abandonment charge makes the loss of your parental rights, now or in the future, more likely. If you’re charged with one of these crimes, you must have a good lawyer’s help if you hope to avoid a conviction.
WHAT IS “ENDANGERING THE WELFARE” OF A MINOR?
A Pennsylvania parent who leaves a child without protection and supervision – even for a short time – may be charged with endangering the welfare of a child. The charge is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable upon conviction with up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
If a court determines that a parent regularly and consistently left a child without protection and supervision, endangering the welfare of a child may be prosecuted as a third-degree felony punishable upon conviction with up to seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine.
WHAT DO PENNSYLVANIA’S CHILD PORNOGRAPHY LAWS PROVIDE?
It is a crime in this state when someone knowingly or intentionally possesses or views depictions, videos, photographs, magazines, or any website, recording, or publication that depicts a child below age 18 engaging in a real or simulated sexual act.
A Pennsylvania conviction for a first child pornography offense can be penalized with a seven-year prison term and a fine of up to $15,000. Subsequent offenses in this state are punishable upon conviction with up to ten years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.
And that’s not all. If you download child pornography from another state or receive it in an email (or even through the U.S. Postal Service or another delivery service) from another state, it’s a federal offense, and you’ll face harsher penalties.
A child pornography defendant can be prosecuted under state child pornography laws in addition to, or instead of, federal laws. If you face criminal charges in both state and federal courts, your legal situation will quickly become exceedingly complicated.
WHERE CAN YOU FIND THE RIGHT DEFENSE ATTORNEY?
If you are facing any of the charges discussed above, you must be represented by the right Lemoyne defense attorney: an attorney who can defend you in both state and federal courts, and an attorney who has extensive experience handling child abuse cases.
That attorney is R. Davis Younts. He’s been practicing law in the state of Pennsylvania for eighteen years. He has been a prosecutor, JAG (Judge Advocate General), and Senior Defense Counsel in the U.S. Air Force.
Attorney R. Davis Younts represents defendants in military, federal, and Pennsylvania courts. He knows how to cast doubt on the evidence against you, and he knows what it takes to win the justice you need. He will uncover the truth and bring your case to its best possible conclusion.
If you’re charged with a crime involving a child in Cumberland or Dauphin County, call attorney R. Davis Younts at (833) 739-5291 or (717) 612-4840. His offices are in Lemoyne at 26 North Ninth Street. When a criminal allegation against you involves a child, you must have the right lawyer’s help.