Child Abuse Charges & Vulnerable Adult Charges
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Child Abuse Charges in Arizona
In Arizona, child or vulnerable adult abuse allegations are serious and can negatively affect your life. Just being charged with child abuse can cause negative impacts even if you are not convicted of the offense. Child abuse accusations can cause you to lose your custody and visitation rights with your child and expose you to criminal penalties.
At Colburn Hintze Maletta, our experienced criminal defense attorneys understand how serious child abuse charges are. We are prepared to aggressively defend you against the allegations against you to secure the most favorable outcome possible.
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Child Abuse Charges & Vulnerable Adult Charges
What is Child Abuse or Vulnerable Adult Abuse in Arizona?
Arizona’s child abuse and vulnerable adult abuse law is found at ARS 13-3623. Under this law, you can be charged with child abuse or vulnerable adult abuse for engaging in several types of conduct involving a child or vulnerable adult.
A vulnerable adult includes any person who is an adult who is unable to protect himself or herself because of physical or mental impairment. You can also be charged with child abuse or vulnerable adult abuse if you cause injuries to the victim under circumstances that are likely to result in serious injuries or death.
You can also be charged with this crime if you allow a child or vulnerable adult in your care to suffer harm to his or her health or to be placed in danger of suffering serious injuries.
Some examples of the types of actions that could be considered to constitute abuse under this statute include the following:
- Abandonment or neglect of a child or vulnerable adult
- Causing injuries or allowing a child or vulnerable adult to be injured
- Sexual exploitation or conduct with a vulnerable adult or child
- Having children or vulnerable adults in an area where drugs are manufactured
- Unlawfully confining a child or vulnerable adult
- Placing a child or vulnerable adult in a situation that endangers their health
- Emotional abuse of a child or vulnerable adult
- Failing to provide adequate nutrition or water to a child or vulnerable adult
Child or vulnerable adult abuse can be broken down into two main categories
Category One Child Abuse or Vulnerable Adult Abuse
Category one child abuse or vulnerable adult abuse offenses fall into this classification when you abuse a vulnerable adult or child in your care or custody or allow abuse to occur under circumstances likely to produce death or serious physical injury You can also be charged if you cause a vulnerable adult or child to be placed in a dangerous situation in which their health or life is endangered.
Three levels of felony offenses can be charged for category one child or vulnerable adult abuse as follows:
- Class 2 felony – Intentional or knowing abuse
- Class 2 felony dangerous crime against children – Victim younger than 15
- Class 3 felony – Abuse caused by recklessness
- Class 4 felony – Abuse caused by criminal negligence
Category Two Child Abuse or Vulnerable Adult Abuse
Child or vulnerable adult abuse may fall into category two when the situation was unlikely to cause serious bodily injuries or death, however, the child or vulnerable adult still suffered or could have suffered harm.
Offenses in this category include the following levels:
- Intentional or knowing abuse – Class 4 felony
- Reckless abuse – Class 5 felony
- Criminally negligent abuse – Class 6 felony
Penalties for Child Abuse or Vulnerable Adult Abuse
The penalties for abuse differ depending on your criminal history and the specific type of child or vulnerable adult abuse that is alleged to have occurred.
If you are convicted of abusing a child younger than age 15 in a way that was likely to cause death or serious injuries, you will face the following penalties for this class 2 Dangerous Crime Against Children (DCAC) offense:
- First offense – 10 to 24 years of prison
- Second DCAC offense – 21 to 35 years in prison
- Third DCAC offense – up to life in prison
If the offense is a class 2 felony but not a DCAC, you will face the following penalties:
- First offense – Up to 1 year in jail with probation or 3 to 12.5 years in prison
- Second offense – From 4.5 up to 23 years in prison
- Third offense – From 10.5 up to 35 years in prison
If the conviction is for a class 3 felony, you will face the following penalties:
- First offense – Up to 1 year in jail with probation or from 2 to 8.75 years in prison
- Second offense – From 3.25 years up to 16.25 years in prison
- Third offense – From 7.5 to 25 years in prison
If the offense is a category one criminal negligence offense, it is a class 4 felony with the following penalties:
- First offense – Up to 1 year in jail with probation or 1 to 3.75 years in prison
- Second offense – From 2.25 years up to 7.5 years in prison
- Third offense – From 6 years up to 15 years in prison
If the child or vulnerable adult abuse conviction falls in category two, the penalties you will face will depend on your criminal history and the specific type of abuse that occurred. If the abuse was intentional and knowing, you will face the following penalties:
- First offense – Up to 1 year in jail with probation or from 1 to 3.75 years in prison
- Second offense- From 2.25 years up to 7.5 years in prison
- Third offense – From 6 years to 15 years in prison
If you are convicted of recklessly causing an injury without the potential for serious injury or death, it is a class five felony with the following potential penalties:
- First offense – Up to 1 year in jail with probation or prison from six months up to 2.5 years
- Second offense – From one to 3.75 years in prison
- Third offense – From three years up to 7.5 years in prison
If you are convicted of a class 6 felony involving criminal negligence, you will face the following penalties:
- First offense – Probation with up to one year in jail or prison from four months to two years
- Second offense – From nine months up to 2.75 years in prison
- Third offense – From 2.25 up to 5.75 years in prison
As you can see, child or vulnerable adult abuse charges are very serious. If you have been accused of committing one of these offenses, you should talk to the attorneys at Colburn Hintze Maletta as soon as possible.
Possible Defenses to Child Abuse or Vulnerable Adult Abuse Charges
As soon as you learn of the accusations against you, you should immediately retain an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Your attorney will then investigate your case and work to build the strongest possible defense. The defenses that might be raised against the charges against you will depend on the circumstances of your case.
Some of the potential defenses that might be asserted include the following:
- You were falsely accused.
- The alleged victim’s injury was caused by something or someone
- You used reasonable discipline for your child.
- You used discipline that meets a religious exemption.
False accusations of child abuse sometimes occur during divorce and custody proceedings. A child might be manipulated and pressured by an adult to make false accusations. False accusations of vulnerable adult abuse also sometimes happen. This might occur when family members argue about guardianship matters. Under ARS 13-2907.04, falsely reporting vulnerable adult abuse is a class 1 misdemeanor.
If your defense attorney finds that the allegations against you are false, he or she might talk to the prosecutor about dismissing your charges and charging the person who made the accusations.
Children and vulnerable adults might also suffer injuries due to something unrelated to any abuse or neglect. For example, a child might fall from a bicycle, or a vulnerable adult might suffer bruising from an underlying medical condition instead of abuse.
Your attorney will carefully examine your case to identify all potential defenses and discuss the best approach to take in your defense.
Get Help from the Attorneys at Colburn Hintze Maletta
Child or vulnerable adult abuse charges can result in felony convictions and decades in prison. If you have been accused of one of these offenses, it is critical for you to get help from an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.
The attorneys at Colburn Hintze Maletta have successfully defended many people who have been accused of crimes and will work to secure the most favorable outcome to your case.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation by calling (602) 825-2500.
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“I still have a clean record to this day.”
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Before I hired Darin I went through a total of 3 different attorneys in two different states fighting a jurisdiction battle, when my daughter was taken to a different state. It was a very difficult decision to switch attorneys at one of the most difficult, time sensitive and important times in my case, but I’m very glad I did. Upon receiving my file from previous attorneys Darin came very familiar with my case quickly. Like other people have explained he took the time to lay everything out and explain how the process was going to proceed and what to expect and continued to do this as new issues arrived. He is also very quick at responding to emails and phone calls. My case was getting close to trial as told by my previous attorneys, I did not want to go to trial as I know this is very costly (most attorneys will convince you that you need to.) Darin knew my situation, fought for what was right and got the results I wanted while avoiding a costly trial. He is extremely knowledgeable in the Child Support Guidelines as well. Because of Darin I got my daughter back. I would highly recommend him and would hire again for any future issues. Thanks Darin!
Chris - AVVO Review
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I had an incident and was given the catch-all charge. There wasn’t really anything I could do by myself to get out of it. Tim was absolutely amazing and worked diligently to ensure that I would have the best possible outcome from my case. Which he successfully achieved! As of right now, I am on the path to having my case fully dismissed. A couple of things that really helped me through this process was that Tim did an amazing job at answering my questions. He was available almost anytime and would respond promptly when he got my emails. He was also very approachable and comforting to be around while we had in person meetings and especially when I was at the court house. I would trust him and the company he works for with any other cases in the future, and as of right now, they will be my first choice if I need a lawyer in the future.
Dylan - AVVO Review
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We retained David Maletta to represent our son after being cited for what can only be described as a momentary lapse of reason. David was extremely knowledgeable, was able to clearly communicate very complicated concepts, and was relentless in his pursuit of my son’s innocence. He had strong relationships with the prosecuting attorney and respect of the judge, which ultimately resulted in my son learning a really hard lesson with limited consequences (traffic school and writing an essay to the judge on the physics of driving 130MPH and what happens if that goes badly). I have already sent all of my friends with teenage and 20 year old kids his contact information for when they inevitably get that call. David completely exceeded all of our expectations and we could not recommend him any stronger. Thank you for everything.
Shawn H. - Google Review
“The calm in the middle of my storm…”
I recently consulted with Darin after my wife filed for divorce. He was referred to me by a friend whom I very much trust. Darin was the antithesis of the first two attorneys I consulted (who were matter-of-fact and had very little empathy about the fact that I was struggling emotionally with what was transpiring). From the first few minutes of speaking with Darin, it was obvious that he was very knowledgeable and skilled with divorce and family matters. While that was most important to me, the thing that made the difference was his calming, logical, and empathetic approach. He took the time to listen and empathize with me. He took the time to understand what I wanted to achieve through this process and laid out my options. After the consultation, I knew he would be my attorney if I had to pull the trigger. I, ultimately, didn’t have to engage Darin’s services due to a reconciliation with my wife. I hope I never have to go through that process again. However, if I do, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt who I will be hiring to represent me…Darin R. Colburn. Darin, thank you for caring and being more than an attorney.
Frank - AVVO Review
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I have nothing but good things to say about my experience working with David Maletta. I was in a very high-stress situation facing a pending DUI charge. He doesn’t know this, but I actually interviewed 5 potential lawyers, and he was the most optimistic of all of them. He took over and handled everything, and now I don’t have to live with a DUI. Thank you so much for everything! Highly recommend them to anyone looking for legal help.
Lauren Koontz - Google Review
“Very professional, very empathetic, and very responsive to all the issues.”
I had the opportunity to work with Darin during a very troublesome time in my life. As a family attorney, I found him to be very professional, very empathetic, and very responsive to all the issues I faced. I would recommend him to anyone without a second thought. Thank you, Darin!
Gary C. - Google Review
“Listens to every request that you make on a case”
I honestly just want to let it be known to any and everyone looking for an attorney on a case. Whether it be DUI, possession, or your every day to day traffic violations where you need representation attorney Tim Hintze is your man. You have to respect a man that listens to every request that you make on a case and he gets in there and gets it done. Tim has my respect as an attorney and being a well-rounded representer. From him being honest on the possibility and options for your case to him being easy to work and communicate with via over the phone or face to face Mr. Hintze is working it out.
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I hired David Maletta and it was the best decision of my life. His knowledge, genuine interest, overall attitude, and ability to connect with people is incomparable. I could talk about all of this at length. I COULD do all of that, but that wouldn’t do David justice. He first and foremost demonstrates his interest and genuine care for his client. Being in uncharted territory with a criminal charge and nowhere to turn, David’s presence and personality put all nerves at ease. I went through a jury trial with David beside me. The trial ran for 3 days and I spent a significant amount of time with David one-on-one. During this stressful time, he wanted to hear my input and thoughts on everything. David was incredible from the first day I met him. Not only is he a great attorney, but he is also a great person who cares about people and finding justice for his clients. He connects to the human side of people. I can’t put into words how much David cares about the individual in a case. When it comes to the courtroom, there is NOBODY I would rather have defending me than David.
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Best divorce lawyers in Arizona, hands down. Timothy Hintz handled my divorce, and as a father, I have my son and our house. I would give them more stars, but the option is not there. His paralegal Jennifer Bone is extremely competent, and the whole team is very friendly. Took a big weight off, having them behind me.
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Darin helped me with a complex family law issue involving ownership of multiple businesses and other assets. He was able to structure a win-win that wasn’t only better than I thought was possible but that protected the business I had built. Above and beyond that, he did it with great customer service and character – which really matters to me. This was the best possible outcome, great price, and fast.