A Former Prosecutor Defending Clients in Wyoming and South Dakota

5 Things You Need to Know About Wyoming Child Abuse Allegations

Children occupy a unique place in our legal system because they are unable to care for themselves or make their own choices. 

Wyoming takes child abuse allegations seriously, and penalties for a child abuse conviction are severe. 

More than half of the allegations of child abuse are unsubstantiated, and may be the result of false accusations or mistakes by doctors or other healthcare professionals. 

If you are facing child abuse allegations, you need an experienced Wyoming child abuse defense lawyer who can fight to preserve your one shot at justice. 

#1 - Child Abuse Is a Felony, Punishable by Up to 5 Years in Prison

Child abuse is broadly defined as when an adult inflicts physical or emotional harm on a child. WY Stat. §6-2-503

Wyoming distinguishes between adults who are legally responsible for a child’s welfare and adults who are not legally responsible for the child’s welfare. 

In cases where the adult is responsible for a child’s welfare, a person can be charged with child abuse for intentioanlly or recklessly inflicting physical or emotional harm on a child who is under 18 years of age. The statute makes an exception for reasonable corporal punishment.  

If the adult is not responsible for the welfare of the child, a person can be charged with and convicted of child abuse for intentionally or recklessly inflicting physical or mental injury on a child who is under 16 years of age. 

The statute also defines aggravated child abuse as the intentional or reckless infliction of serious physical or emotional harm on a child while in the course of committing child abuse. Aggravated child abuse is punishable by up to 25 years in prison. Serious physical injury is an injury that is capable of causing death or disfigurement.  

#2 - Reporting Suspected Child Abuse Is Mandatory

Anyone who reasonably suspects a child is being abused is required to report the suspected child abuse to a child protective agency or local enforcement. 

Failure to report suspected child abuse is a misdemeanor and can result in a fine of up to $500.   

#3 - More Than Half of All Reports of Child Abuse Are Found to Be Unsubstantiated

Because reporting suspected child abuse is mandatory and some professionals can even be punished for failing to report child abuse, many reports of suspected child abuse are inaccurate. 

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families, more than 60% of child abuse allegations are found to be unsubstantiaed

This means that, while the law is quick to come to the aid of children who cannot defend themselves, many allegations of child abuse are false and the rights of the accused are often overlooked. 

Unfortunately, a few signs or symptoms or child abuse can trigger a report by a school employee or healthcare worker and, before you know it, you are under investigation for suspected child abuse. 

 #4 - A Child Abuse Defense Lawyer Can Help Reduce the Charges, Negotiate a Plea Deal, or Have the Case Dismissed

Do not try to defend allegations of child abuse on your own. The stakes are just too high. 

Case workers may threaten to take your children away from you, and you face the possibility of substantial fines and jail time if you are convicted. 

An experienced child abuse defense lawyer can interpret the laws and the allegations against you, and defend your rights. 

Allegations of child abuse can quickly change your life. The only way to respond is with a vigorous defense. 

An experienced criminal defense lawyer will examine the evidence against you, find where the evidence is faulty or lacking, and attack law enforcement and the prosecution to vindicate your rights.  

#5 - Defenses to Allegations of Child Abuse

Allegations of child abuse require a strong and tenacious defense.

False Allegations. In some cases, allegations of child abuse are simply made up in an effort to get revenge or gain leverage in a divorce or child custody case. 

Doctors’ Mistakes. Other times doctors or other healthcare professionals, fearing criminal prosecution for failing to report suspected child abuse, will make a report based on accidental injuries that are a normal part of a child’s growth and development. Even when parents or guardians seek medical attention quickly after a childhood injury, overzealous or inexperienced doctors may be quick to argue that the injuries could not have occurred by accident and must have been the result of child abuse. 

If You’re Facing Wyoming Child Abuse Allegations, Just Criminal Law Can Help

If you or someone you care about is facing Wyoming child abuse allegations, hire a team of skilled and experienced criminal defense professionals as quickly as possible. 

The team of criminal defense professionals at Just Criminal Law has extensive experience defending people accused of child abuse, and is here to protect your one shot at justice.. 

Contact Christina L. Williams and Just Criminal Law by calling 307-686-6556, emailing inquiry@justcriminallaw.com, or complete our online form. 

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article is offered for educational purposes only. This information is not offered as legal advice. A person accused of a crime should always consult with an attorney before making decisions that have legal consequences.

Categories: Child Abuse Charges

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