Parents are unpleasantly surprised when they learn that they’ve been accused of abusing, endangering, or abandoning their child. Unfortunately, accusations of child abandonment are common, and even the most devoted and loving parents can be accused of child abandonment. Because Texas has very stringent child and family violence laws, the authorities are often quick to arrest parents suspected of child abuse. Here’s what you need to know about the child abandonment laws in Texas.
What Exactly is Child Abandonment?
Child abandonment refers to a parent or legal caretaker abandoning a child in any location without providing the child with necessary and reasonable care. Specifically:
- An individual who has custody, control, or care of a child under 15 years old has committed an offense if they deliberately abandon the child in a place that exposes the child to abuse or unreasonable risk of danger or harm.
- An individual has committed an offense if they recklessly, knowingly, intentionally, or by omission or act, with criminal negligence, engaged in any behavior that placed the child under 15 years old in imminent risk of bodily injury, mental or physical impairment, or death.
Likewise, child abuse includes (but isn’t limited to) the following:
- When a caregiver or parent leaves a child in a situation in which they’re subject to emotional or mental injury, and the injury is observable in the development, growth, and psychological functioning of the child.
- When an individual fails to prevent another individual’s actions that cause the child harm and physical injury
- When an individual performs any kind of sexual conduct that damages the child’s emotional, mental, or physical well-being
What Are The Penalties for Child Abandonment in TX?
If the defendant abandoned a child intending to come back for the child, the penalties can include six months to two years of imprisonment in a state jail and up to $10,000 in fines. If the defendant abandoned a child without intending to return, the offense will be considered a third-degree felony, and penalties can include a fine not exceeding $10,000 and two to 10 years in prison.
In addition, if the defendant abandoned a child and put them in a situation with imminent harm or danger, the charge of child abandonment or endangerment will be bumped up to a second-degree felony. The penalties may include a fine of not more than $10,000 and imprisonment of two to 20 years.
Consult with a Top Criminal Defense Attorney in San Antonio, TX
If you are facing a charge of child abandonment or any kind of child abuse in Texas, you need an experienced San Antonio, TX, criminal defense attorney to fight the charges against you. The law firm of Hoelscher Gebbia Cepeda PLLC has been protecting the rights of parents in Texas for many years now and will do everything possible to ensure the best possible results for our clients.
You can learn more about your case by talking to our San Antonio, TX, criminal defense attorney. Reach us online or call 210-222-9132 to set up your case consultation today.