Abuse is defined as the misuse of something or the mistreatment of someone. In Virginia law, there are two different kinds of abuse. There is child abuse which is defined as the mistreatment of a child. This mistreatment may come in different ways. These include physical, psychological and mental. The other kind of abuse is the abuse of an incapacitated adult. The adult may be incapacitated mentally or physically. The abuse to either a child or an incapacitated adult may come from the neglect of the child or incapacitated adult. The latter kind of abuse may be classified as a misdemeanor or felony depending on the conditions and way in which the abuse was done. Child abuse is always classified as a felony.
Virginia abuse laws state that for a case to be recognized as a child abuse crime, the following conditions must be present:
- The offender is the parent, guardian or someone who was meant to take care of the child;
- The offender intentionally abused a child or did not act reasonably which led to him/her abusing the child; and
- The offender caused an injury to the child.
The injury caused by the offender must be serious. Examples of these kinds of injuries include:
- Internal life-threatening injuries;
- Permanent injury to a limb;
- Cuts; and
- Broken Bones.
Child abuse is identified as a felony in all cases. General Child abuse is a crime that is taken as a class four felony. This means that the punishment for child abuse is a period in prison which ranges from two to ten years and a fine which may go up to but not extend $100,000. The case is different when the abuse is in the form of neglect. Child abuse in the form of child neglect is recognized as a felony of class six. This means that the punishment for child abuse in the form of child neglect is imprisonment for a period that ranges between one and five years. In some cases, the court may decide to punish the felony with the same punishment given to class one or class A misdemeanor crimes. This means the punishment may be a period in jail for a maximum of one year and/or a fee that may reach but not extend $2500.
Virginia abuse laws state that the abuse of incapacitated adults is a serious crime. The abuse may come in two ways:
- The offender intentionally causes physical injury or mental pain.
- Punishing the adult by restraining him for treatment.
Virginia law also states that the offender must be a parent, guardian or someone who volunteered to take responsibility of the incapacitated adult. The punishment for such a crime depends on if the incapacitated adult was injured or not. If the adult was injured, the case will be seen as a class four felony and punished accordingly. In this case, the punishment will be imprisonment for a period between two and ten years and/or a fine that may reach but not extend $100,000. If the adult died because of the abuse, the case will be seen as a class three felony and punished accordingly. In this case, the offender will be punished by imprisonment for five to 20 years and a fine that may reach $100,000. If the incapacitated adult was not injured then the crime will be taken as a class six felony. This means that the punishment will be imprisonment for one to five years or the court chooses to punish the offender by treating the case as a class one or class A misdemeanor. In this case, the punishment will be a fine that may go up to $2500 and/or a period in jail that may reach a period of one year.