What Constitutes Aggravated Child Abuse in Alabama?
A conviction for child abuse can carry very serious consequences. For individuals who are not the full-time custodians of their child and share custody with an ex, a child abuse conviction could threaten their right to spend time alone with their child. Courts might even impose a restraining order, barring a parent from being anywhere near their child. These consequences are in addition to the consequences faced by those convicted of a crime. While child abuse charges are serious, charges for aggravated child abuse carry even stiffer penalties. If you’ve been charged with child abuse by an Alabama prosecutor, find a trustworthy defense attorney to ensure that your right to a fair trial is protected.
Basic Child Abuse
An individual will be charged with child abuse when:
- The accused is a parent, grandparent, stepparent, guardian, or another person responsible for the child under Alabama law
- The suspect has been accused of willfully torturing, abusing, cruelly beating or willfully mistreating a child in some other way
- The child who has allegedly been abused is under 18 years old
Child abuse is a class C felony and, if the accused is convicted, can carry a sentence of up to ten years in prison.
Aggravated child abuse
This crime can become even more serious if prosecutors charge the offense as “aggravated.” An individual can be charged with aggravated child abuse where:
- The suspected abuser has previously been convicted of child abuse
- The abuse resulted in serious physical injury to the child
- The suspected abuser was subject to a court order regarding the child who was allegedly abused
Aggravated child abuse is considered to be a class B felony. If convicted of aggravated child abuse, an individual can be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison.
Child abuse charges are often complex and heavily fact dependent. Due to the high stakes involved and serious potential professional and personal consequences of a conviction, those charged with child abuse should consult with an Alabama criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after an arrest.
If you have been charged with a crime in Alabama and want the best chance possible at preserving your freedom, contact the seasoned and aggressive Dothan criminal defense attorneys at Smith & McGhee for a consultation, at 334-702-1744.