Child abuse is a crime that's taken seriously in just about every state, and New Jersey is no different. The state places a strong emphasis on protecting vulnerable victims, especially infants, children, and minors. Hence, why prosecutors always seek out maximum penalties allowed under the law in these cases.
Facing accusations of child abuse is one of the most damaging legal predicaments one can be in. Merely being accused of allegations of this nature can ruin your reputation and bring about other harsh premature consequences. If you've been falsely accused, it's important you have someone on your side who understands the complexities of New Jersey law and can act swiftly in your defense. Attorney Joseph D. Lento at the Lento Law Firm can be the legal professional to help you get justice.
It's important you understand the gravity of the charges of child abuse charges, if you've acquired them. The Lento Law Firm will provide an overview of child abuse laws in New Jersey.
What Actions Constitute Child Abuse in New Jersey?
Child abuse is an umbrella term for behaviors that endanger the well-being of a child. The abuse can be physical, emotional or psychological. According to New Jersey law (N.J.S.A. 9:6-1), child abuse generally consists of the following acts:
- Disposing of the custody of a child contrary to law
- Employing or permitting a child to be employed in any vocation or employment injurious to its health or dangerous to its life or limb, or contrary to the laws of this State
- Permitting a child to be employed in any occupation, employment or vocation dangerous to the morals of such child
- The habitual use by the parent or by a person having the custody and control of a child, that may tend to debauch, endanger, or degrade the morals of the child
- Permitting or allowing any other person to perform any indecent, immoral or unlawful act in the presence of the child that may tend to debauch or endanger the morals of such child
- Using excessive physical restraint on the child under circumstances which do not indicate that the child's behavior is harmful to himself, others or property
- Willfully isolating the child from ordinary social contact under circumstances which indicate emotional or social deprivation
The abandonment of a child also falls under the realm of child abuse under New Jersey law. Parents will be penalized for failing to uphold their responsibility to maintain control and custody of a child. Abandonment consists of any of the following acts:
- Willfully forsaking a child
- Failing to care for and keep the control and custody of a child so that the child shall be exposed to physical or moral risk without proper and sufficient protection
- Failing to care for and keep the control and custody of a child so that the child shall be liable to be supported and maintained at the expense of the public, or by child caring societies or private persons not legally chargeable with its or their care, custody and control.
Neglect, or failing to properly care for a child is another facet of child abuse. Anyone who has custody or control of a child and fails to do the following acts may be accused of neglect:
- Willfully failing to provide proper and sufficient food, clothing, maintenance, regular school education as required by law, medical attendance or surgical treatment, and clean and proper home
- Failure to do or permit to be done any act necessary for the child's physical or moral well-being, or
- Placing a child in an inappropriate institution with the knowledge that the placement has resulted and may continue to result in harm to the child's mental or physical well-being.
Cruelty to a child can also constitute child abuse. A person is characterized as cruel to a child when he or she:
- Inflicts unnecessarily severe corporal punishment upon a child
- Inflicts upon a child unnecessary suffering or pain, either mental or physical
- Habitually torments, vexes, or afflicts a child
- Exposes a child to unnecessary hardship, fatigue, or mental or physical strains that may tend to injure the health or physical or moral well-being of such child
New Jersey law requires anyone who has witnessed an act of child abuse to contact the state's Children and Family Services Division. Failing to report child abuse and filing a false report are both against the law.
Penalties for Child Abuse in New Jersey
A conviction for child abuse will expose you to incredibly serious legal penalties. A person who is found guilty of exhibiting any of the aforementioned behaviors will be convicted of a crime of the fourth degree. A crime of the fourth degree carries penalties of up to 18 months in prison and a possible fine.
If a fine is imposed, the courts will direct it to be paid in whole to the parent, guardian, custodian, or trustee of the minor child(ren).
New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney
Child abuse is a serious crime in the state of New Jersey. A conviction of this crime can land you behind bars, and affect your life and your relationships even after your time has been served. To avoid a conviction and the legal and collateral ramifications that come with a child abuse conviction, you need the help of a seasoned criminal defense attorney. Also, you should never discuss the circumstances of an incident without an attorney present. If the police attempt to question you, you should decline to answer and request an attorney.
If you're looking for quality legal representation, the Lento Law Firm is the ideal firm for you. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has the experience and credentials to defend and counsel people who've acquired child abuse charges. He will provide you with options in this predicament, build a solid defense and work towards getting your charges reduced or dropped. For more information about Mr. Lento's representation, contact the Lento Law Firm either online or by phone at 888-535-3686.