Child Abuse & Neglect in NV
Las Vegas Criminal Defense Attorney
In Nevada being charged with child abuse or neglect can expose a defendant
to a gross misdemeanor charge, or a variety of felony charges in some
cases. Basically, there are a number of different factors which determine
the seriousness of the type of charge a defendant will face in a child
abuse case. For example, an allegation that a defendant caused serious
bodily harm to a minor child will result in higher potential prison exposure
for then something more passive, such as leaving a minor child in the
care of an irresponsible caretaker.
If you have been charged with child abuse or neglect in Las Vegas,
contact David R. Fischer at (702) 866-9864 today to schedule a
Abuse, Neglect or Endangerment of a Child
The applicable statute is NRS 200.508. Any person who causes a child to
suffer physical pain or mental suffering as a result of “abuse or
neglect,” can be exposed to penalties ranging from a gross misdemeanor
to a category A felony, with the possibility of life imprisonment. There
are a number of factors, which affect the type of punishment the Clark
County District Attorney’s office will seek for an alleged violation
of NRS 200.508.
The main issues are:
- Whether the alleged conduct was “willful”
- What was the actual age of the child at the time of the alleged violation
- Whether substantial bodily or mental harm resulted to the child, and
- Has the defendant been previously convicted under NRS 200.508.
Whether the Alleged Conduct Was Willful
The law distinguishes between a person who willfully acts and a person
who is negligent. Typically, a willful act is much more difficult to prove
as it requires very strong evidence that a person acted according to a
preconceived plan. For example, contrast throwing a toddler in the pool,
knowing that toddler can’t swim, to failing to supervise, and the
toddler falls in the pool (Both scenarios assume that the toddler lives).
In the first instance, the conduct, from the circumstances, is clearly
willful as opposed to the second incident where it is clearly neglectful.
The first scenario, would likely expose the defendant to harsher penalties
for willful conduct.
What Was the Actual Age of the Child
If the child is under the age of 14 and the harm is the result of sexual
abuse or exploitation, one faces exposure to a category A felony, with
a sentence range of up to life, with parole eligibility beginning after
15 years have been served. If the child is 14 years old or older than
that same conduct will be charged as category B felony, which carries
a sentence range of 2 – 20 years in the Nevada Department of Corrections.
Did Substantial Bodily / Mental Harm Result?
The legal definition of substantial bodily harm in Las Vegas is quite broad.
Any bodily injury that results in permanent disfigurement, impaired function
of any body part, or substantial risk of death can be considered to be
substantial harm. Additionally, subjecting a child to prolonged periods
of physical pain can also be included.
Examples of substantial harm can include:
- Broken bones
- Organ damage
- Wounds requiring stitches
Prior Convictions for NRS 200.508 Violations
If a defendant has a history of violating NRS 200.508, more serious penalties
will be faced. For a second offense, a person will face a category C felony
charge and face up to 5 years in prison and fines up to $10,000. For some
offenses, a person can face life in prison for particularly egregious
instances of child abuse. If you have a prior conviction for child abuse,
it is imperative that you seek strong legal representation from our
criminal defense firm to improve your chances of avoiding incarceration.