In Maryland, teachers, pediatricians and other third parties that interact with children must report any suspicion they might have of abuse to the relevant authorities. Child abuse refers to the physical or emotional injury of a child under circumstances which may suggest that the child’s welfare is under threat of being harmed, and also to the sexual abuse of the child. Here, the child may be related to the parent by blood, adoption or marriage.
When investigating child abuse cases, the Child Protective Services must conduct an investigation involving all family members, even if it is only suspected that one child is victim to abuse. The CPS will interview each member of the family in order to complete their assessment.
If evidence of abuse is found, the children may be removed from the household and the adult suspected to be in charge of the abuse will be charged and arrested.
In Maryland, the penalties for child abuse depend on the type of abuse that was committed. There are mainly two types of abuse.
Second degree child abuse refers to when a parent, adult with permanent or temporary custody of the child or any household member’s cruel or inhumane treatment of a child has caused the latter physical injury. Moreover, if physical injury cannot be proven, second degree abuse may still be charged if it has been proven that the circumstances the child lives in put his mental and physical welfare on threat of being harmed. Second degree abuse is a serious felony in Maryland and individuals guilty of it will potentially face a jail sentence with a maximum of 15 years.
First-degree child abuse refers to when abuse caused by a parent, adult with permanent or temporary custody of the child or any household member resulted in the child’s death or in serious physical injury. In case of injury, it must be proven to the court without a reasonable doubt. This is done by providing evidence which shows signs of brain injury, bleeding within the skull, permanent disability, and loss of function of a bodily organ or impairment of a bodily organ. However, if this evidence is flawed or incomplete, charges may still be filed if the severity of the injuries or their emotional nature is evident. Individuals guilty of first-degree child abuse face a prison sentence with a maximum of 25 years in case of injury, and a maximum of 30 years in case of death.
Furthermore, in Maryland, individuals with past convictions of child abuse being convicted of the crime again will face up to 25 years in prison, regardless of whether the abuse was first or second degree. If this abuse resulted in the child’s death, the individual will then face up to 40 years in prison.
Moreover, it is important to note that the penalties arising from convictions of child abuse can be either separate or concurrent with penalties from crimes arising from the same act. For example, an adult convicted of child abuse for murdering a child will face prison time for both child abuse and a murder-related offense.
If you need a Maryland Child Abuse Lawyer to help you with your Child Abuse case in Maryland, call us at 888-437-7747. Our Maryland Child Abuse Attorneys can help you.