Misdemeanor Child Abuse
Few charges carry the same level of concern, stigma, and public distain in Cumberland County than allegations of Child Abuse. Even an accusation of misdemeanor child abuse, whether or not that includes a related criminal charge such as assault on a child, is serious and can affect your standing in the community.
If you have been charged or arrested for Misdemeanor Child Abuse in Hoke or Cumberland County, we strongly encourage you to retain legal counsel immediately.
Politely invoke your 5th Amendment Right to Remain Silent and ask to speak with a criminal defense attorney. Our team of defense lawyers is available for consultation.What is “Child Abuse” in NC?
Misdemeanor child abuse under North Carolina General Statute 14-318.2 occurs when a person:
- Is a parent of a child less than 16 years of age or is a person providing are to or supervising a child less than 16 years of age; and,
- inflicts physical injury on, allows physical injury to be inflicted on, or creates or allows to be created a substantial risk of physical injury to
- the child (4) other than by accident
Misdemeanor child abuse is a class A1 misdemeanor with a maximum punishment under the law of 150 days incarceration and a discretionary fine not limited by statute.
Class A1 misdemeanors in North Carolina are the highest class of misdemeanor offense. Even with no prior record, under the NC Misdemeanor Sentencing Grid, an active period of incarceration (jail/prison) is authorized under the law.
What Happens if DSS Wants to Talk to Me?
"If you stand accused of either felony or misdemeanor child abuse, you should immediately speak with a defense lawyer. The consequences of a conviction can be harsh and long lasting."
- David Courie, Criminal Attorney
Criminal allegations of misdemeanor child abuse may begin first with an investigation by the Department of Social Services “DSS” – Child Protective Services through the NCDHHS.
Obviously, law enforcement may conduct their own investigation. It’s important you understand, Miranda Rights may not apply to inquiries made by a social worker, CPS investigator, or other DSS representative.
Furthermore, your 5th Amendment Rights consistent with Miranda Warnings generally are inapplicable if you are not in custody (arrest) or are not subject to something defense lawyers may refer to as a “custodial interrogation.”
If you cooperate with a criminal investigation, or give a voluntary statement (even if done so at the police station in an interview room), what you say could be used against you in a criminal prosecution.
"We have a team of criminal defense lawyers who are available for consultation for matters in Hoke and Cumberland County NC. Don’t hesitate. Lawyer up, even if you have not yet been charged."
- David Courie, Criminal Defense Attorney
Therefore, we believe it a better practice to speak with legal counsel before cooperating with a DSS investigation.
To be clear, there are times when some level of participation with a CPS inquiry may be appropriate and necessary.
Politely advise whoever is asking questions, whether that is DSS or the police, you’d like to speak with a lawyer. Ask for their contact information and the agency they represent. Make sure to write down their full name, telephone number, and email address.
You are not required to give a statement, answer questions, or “clear things up.” You have the Constitutional Right to Remain Silent.
Exercising that right is not evidence you did something wrong. It does not mean you are guilty. The judge will not be mad or angry with you, contrary what you may have been told, if you ask to end the conversation and request the chance to speak with a lawyer.
You are not required to wait until police finishing asking questions. Stop talking and tell the police officer you want to consult with an attorney.Is Child Abuse a Felony or Misdemeanor?
Child abuse can take different forms and involve complex fact patterns and allegations. It is not usual for people to be accused and charged with more than criminal offense.
That may include misdemeanor charges, allegations of a felony, and criminal prosecution for both felonies and misdemeanors, as the case and fact-pattern warrant.
For example, misdemeanor child abuse may also include related, but technically separate allegations of communicating threats, injury to personal property, and can, in some instances, constitute grounds for contempt proceedings if there exists a Court Order regarding child custody and family law issues.
Fortunately, our law firm helps people with a wide range of legal matters. We handle both criminal charges and family law cases, including issues involving child custody, support, visitation, and divorce.
Legal consultations for criminal charges in Fayetteville NC are free of charge. Consultation fees apply if the matter involves a family law issue, divorce, custody, equitable distribution, etc.
Call now to schedule an appointment. We enjoy helping people with complex legal issues.