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Arizona Child Abuse and Vulnerable Adult Abuse ARS 13-3623

Watch this short video where David talks about charges of Child Abuse or Vulnerable Adult Abuse in Arizona:

Under ARS §13-3623, a “child” is any individual under 18 years of age, and a “vulnerable adult” is any individual who is 18 years of age or older and who is unable to protect himself from abuse, neglect or exploitation by others because of a mental or physical impairment. Child Abuse and Vulnerable Adult Abuse crimes falls in two major categories.

“Category 1″ Abuse cases involve situations in which a person abuses a child or vulnerable adult, has custody or care of the child and allows the abuse to occur, or causes a child or vulnerable adult to be placed in a situation where their life and health is endangered. A defendant charged with Category 1 Abuse can be charged with three (3) different offenses as follows:

  1. If the abuse is done “intentionally” or “knowingly,” it is charged as a class two (2) felony.
  2. If the victim is under fifteen (15) years of age, then the offense qualifies for punishment under the Dangerous Crimes Against Children Statute (learn more about DACA).
  3. If the abuse is done “recklessly”, then the offense can be charged as a class three (3) felony.
  4. If the abuse is done with “criminal negligence”, then the offense can be charged as a class four (4) felony.

To “recklessly” cause the abuse, the defendant must have been aware of, and consciously disregarded, a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the abuse would occur or that the circumstances existed where the abuse could occur. The risks must be of such a nature and degree that disregard of such risks constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of conduct that a reasonable person would observe in the situation. For an act to be done with “criminal negligence”, then with respect to the abuse, the defendant failed to perceive a substantial and justifiable risk that the abuse will occur, and the failure to perceive the risk constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would observe in the situation.

“Category 2″ Child Abuse cases involve situations in which the circumstances were not likely to produce death or serious physical injury, however the child or vulnerable adult did suffer (or could have suffered) physical injury or abuse. The person who committed the abuse, or who allowed the abuse to occur, can be charged with the following offenses:

  1. If it is done “intentionally” or “knowingly”, then the offense can be charged as a class four (4) felony.
  2. If it is done “recklessly”, then the offense can be charged as a class five (5) felony.
  3. If it is done with “criminal negligence”, then the offense can be charged as a class six (6) felony.

Contact DM Cantor if you have been suspected of, or charged with Child Abuse / Vulnerable Adult Abuse. Call 24/7 602-307-0808 for a Free Consultation.

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Possible Punishment for Child Abuse & Vulnerable Adult Abuse

Punishments for “Category 1″ Abuse Cases Involving a Child or Vulnerable Adult:

 

If the Abuse was likely to produce death or serious physical injury, and is against a child under the age of 15, and was committed “Intentionally” or “Knowingly”, it is a Class 2 felony and punishable under the Dangerous Crime Against Children statute.

  • For a first time offense, an individual can be sentenced to 10 years minimum in prison, 17 years presumptive, and 24 years maximum of incarceration.
  • If the person has one (1) allegeable historical prior Dangerous Crime Against a Child conviction, then the “prison only” range is 21 years minimum, 28 years presumptive, and 35 years maximum of incarceration.
  • If the person has two 2 prior Dangerous Crime Against a Child convictions, then the punishment is “life” in prison.

If the Abuse was done “Intentionally” or “Knowingly” to an Elderly person, or to a Child age fifteen or older, then it is a Class 2 felony.

  • For a first time offense, punishment can be probation with zero days in jail up to 1 year in jail -or- prison of 3 years to 12.5 years of incarceration.
  • If the person has one (1) allegeable historical prior conviction, then the “prison only” range is 4.5 years to 23.25 years in prison.
  • If the person has two (2) allegeable historical prior convictions, then the “prison only” range is 10.5 to 35 years of incarceration.

If the Elder/Child Abuse case involves an allegation of “recklessness”, then it will be classified as a Class 3 felony and carries the following range of punishments:

  • For a first time offense, the punishment involves probation with zero days in jail up to 1 year in jail -or- prison involving 2 years minimum up to 8.75 years maximum of incarceration.
  • If the person has one (1) allegeable historical prior conviction then the “prison only” range is 3.5 years to 16.25 years of incarceration.
  • If the person has two (2) allegeable historical prior convictions, then the “prison only” range is 7.5 years to 25 years of incarceration.

If the Elder/Child Abuse case involves an allegation of “criminal negligence”, then it will be classified as a Class 4 felony, which carries the following:

  • For a first time offense, the punishment involves probation with zero days jail up to 1 year in jail -or- prison of 1 year minimum to 3.75 years maximum of incarceration.
  • If the person has one (1) historical allegeable prior conviction, then the “prison only” range is 2.25 years to 7.5 years of incarceration.
  • If the person has two (2) historical allegeable prior convictions, then the “prison only” range is 6 years to 15 years of incarceration.

Punishments for “Category 2″ Abuse Cases Involving a Child or Vulnerable Adult:

If the Abuse case involves an allegation the Abuse (not likely to produce death or serious physical injury) was done “intentionally”, or “knowingly,” then it will be classified as a Class 4 felony which carry the following:

  • A first time offense involves probation with zero days jail up to 1 year in jail -or- prison of 1 year minimum to 3.75 years maximum of incarceration.
  • If the person has one (1) historical allegeable prior conviction, then the “prison only” range is 2.25 years to 7.5 years of incarceration.
  • If the person has two (2) historical allegeable prior convictions, then the “prison only” range is 6 years to 15 years of incarceration.

If the Abuse case involves an allegation the abuse was done “recklessly”, then it will be classified as a Class 5 felony, carrying the following punishments:

  • For a first time offense, punishment can be probation with zero days up to 1 year in jail -or- prison of 6 months to 2.5 years in custody.
  • If the person has one (1) historical allegeable prior felony conviction, then the “prison only” range is 1 to 3.75 years of incarceration.
  • If the person has two (2) historical allegeable prior felony convictions, then the “prison only” range is 3 years to 7.5 years of incarceration.

If the Abuse case involves an allegation the abuse was committed with “criminal negligence”, then it will be classified as a Class 6 felony with the following:

  • For a first offense Class 6 felony, punishment can be probation with zero days up to 1 year in jail -or- prison of 4 months to 2 years of incarceration.
  • If the person has one (1) historical allegeable prior felony conviction, then the “prison only” range is 9 months to 2.75 years in prison.
  • If the person has two (2) historical allegeable prior felony convictions, then the “prison only” range is 2.25 to 5.75 years of incarceration.

Quite commonly, Child Abuse is only one of the charges filed against a criminal defendant in a case involving crimes against a child. If your cases involve any crime below, click on the button to learn more.

Child Abuse Case Involves Allegations of Sexual Conduct with a MinorChild Abuse Case Involves Allegations of Child MolestationChild Abuse Case Involves Allegations of KidnappingChild Abuse Case Involves Allegations of Sexual Exploitation of a Minor / Child Pornography

Otherwise, the punishments vary for Child and Elder Abuse depending on which category the offense is, and which mental state the prosecution alleges that the crime was committed in.


Possible Defenses for Child Abuse / Vulnerable Adult Abuse

The highest priority in defending against a charge of Child Abuse / Vulnerable Adult Abuse is to demonstrate first and foremost that any alleged abuse was not done “intentionally” or “knowingly.” By doing so, the defense has removed the most severe punishment range from the available sentencing options.

The vast majority of Abuse cases however, are charged under the lesser and easier to prove “recklessness” and “negligence” standards. The key for the defense is demonstrating that the defendant was not “reckless” and that his conduct was not a “gross deviation” from the standard of conduct that a reasonable person would observe in this situation. In regards to “negligence”, it must be shown that the defendant’s care was not a “gross deviation” from the standard of care that a reasonable person would observe in the situation. For example, if you are at the park and your child is playing on the jungle gym, and happens to fall off and break their arm, most people would agree that you have not engaged in a “gross deviation” from the standard of conduct or standard of care that a reasonable person would observe in that situation.

The same applies to other household injuries. A mother or father cannot be expected to be next to their child 24 hours per day. Sometimes children are playing and they just accidentally injury themselves (this happens every day). Another example is when an elderly person falls in a nursing home or at their house, while under the supervision of a nurse. It is not possible for the nurse to supervise every second, and elderly people are frail and more susceptible to injury, and don’t follow instructions as well as younger people do. Just because a child or elderly person gets injured while in your care does not mean that you are guilty of child or elder abuse. Nobody is perfect and judges and juries are aware of that.

Many times false allegations of Child Abuse, combined with other serious allegations including Sexual Abuse or Misconduct, are brought forward by an ex, or soon-to-be-ex, spouse, while involved in a custody battle. At DM Cantor, we handle a very high percentage of the “Sex Crimes” cases involving private counsel in Arizona. We have one of the largest libraries with research materials devoted to challenging accusations involving sex crimes.

Our Arizona Child Abuse Lawyers have attended numerous seminars sponsored by the National Child Abuse Defense and Resource Center (the leading center in the United States which assists in the defense of the falsely accused). Our Arizona Child Abuse Lawyers have been highly trained in the clinical and forensic interviewing techniques of children and their families. This allows us to properly question detectives and other mental health professionals who may have initially interviewed the alleged victim. If the interviewing process was not done correctly, it can often be shown that the detective led the alleged victim into giving the necessary answers required to charge the defendant.

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Forming a Strong Defense Against Serious Charges

Additionally, because our law firm fights conviction from all angles, we would assert a wide range of defenses and challenges to constitutional violations that apply in all criminal cases. The possibilities are numerous and diverse. One of those we frequently assert is a “Miranda rights violation.” In Arizona, the standard of whether any incriminating statement (i.e., a statement which tends to admit guilt) is admissible into evidence is based upon a “voluntariness” standard. If we can demonstrate that the police coerced you (i.e., intimidated or tricked you) into making a confession or inculpatory statement, or that they did not properly read you your Miranda Rights, then we can suppress those statements and any evidence gathered as a direct result of those statements.

In addition, the “denial of right to Counsel” is another common defense which is often raised. This occurs when a suspect is in custody and requests to speak to their attorney, but is denied and questioning continues. Other defenses may include challenging the validity of any search warrant, or whether there were any “forensic flaws” during the investigation of your case. Depending on what else you have been charged with, this could include exposing flawed procedures regarding blood, breath, and urine testing; fingerprints analysis; DNA testing; computer analysis/cloning hard drive procedures; etc..

Lastly, one of the most common defense tactics is exposing sloppy or misleading police reports which include everything from misstatements, false statements, flawed photo line-ups and inaccurate crime scene reconstruction. It is important to hire a skilled Child/Elder Abuse lawyer to defend you who has knowledge of all the possible defenses to assert in your case.  Before speaking with other lawyers, check out our Child Abuse / Vulnerable Adult Abuse victories page.

If you have not been charged with
Child Abuse or Vulnerable Adult Abuse yet, but are in the
“pre-charge investigation stage” – Click Here Now

Contact DM Cantor and speak to an Arizona Child Abuse/Vulnerable Adult Abuse Lawyer. We will review your case from top to bottom and form a strong defense against these serious charges.

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