Child Abuse Lawyers in Layton, Utah

Child Abuse and Abandonment


Defending Your Innocence in a Child Abuse Case

As criminal defense lawyers it is our job to defend you and your case. If you are have been charged with a violent crime in Utah, or you are currently under investigation for a violent crime, contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Layton, Utah today. It is crucial you do not wait. You are innocent until proven guilty. We will treat you and your case accordingly. The police reports do not always tell the whole story. You are innocent until they prove otherwise.

You might not have broken any laws or committed any crimes– even if you have been charged or accused of doing so. In some cases there is not sufficient evidence to convict you of a crime. It is our job to make them prove their case. Our Layton criminal defense lawyers understand what it takes to defend your innocence. Our law firm has been successful in defending clients facing criminal charges for more than 25 years, including winning acquittals in murder, rape and kidnapping criminal cases in Utah.


Defending Child Abuse Cases in Utah

In many cases, child abuse investigations can result in unsubstantiated or false allegations made by a child, a teacher, or a parent. Our Utah child abuse lawyers take child abuse very seriously and fully support all efforts to protect children.

Unfortunately, parents, relatives, and other individuals are often falsely accused of child abuse. This can be the result of retaliation from a failed relationship, divorce, child custody, or the impulses of children.

Whether you are a parent, teacher, child care provider, friend, or any other adult, being accused of child abuse can have disastrous effects on your future. Child abuse charges can result in a loss of custody, condemnation from friends and family, judgments from peers and other adults, and the impending fear of a potential jail or prison sentence. If you have been accused of child abuse in Utah, it is imperative you meet with an attorney to discuss your case.


Child Abuse- Understanding the Utah Laws

You can learn more about penalties for child abuse crimes in Utah by visiting the utah.gov website.

Child abuse can be broadly defined, but typically it is defined as a form of cruelty involving a child, or a person under the age of 18 years old. This cruelty can include physical harm, neglect, mental abuse, sexual abuse, or exploitation. Crimes resulting in child abuse can include assault and battery charges.

The Utah state statute regarding child abuse and child abandonment prohibits harm or threat of harm resulting in physical abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, or emotional/mental injury. This statute contains no exemptions.

The state of Utah considers the following acts as crimes against children:

  • Physical Abuse
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Rape of a child
  • Mental or Emotional Abuse
  • Neglect
  • Sexual Exploitation
  • Incest
  • Molestation
  • Trafficking
  • Child Kidnapping
  • Child Abandonment
  • Conditions or circumstances which would reasonably result in sexual abuse, physical abuse, or neglect
  • Committing domestic violence in the presence of a child
  • Endangerment of a child or vulnerable adult
  • Abuse or neglect of a child with a disability
  • Failing to report child abuse*

*Failing to report child abuse in the state of Utah is a Class B misdemeanor.

Child Abuse in Utah

Utah Criminal Code §76-5-109

“Child” means a person who is under the age of 18.

Any person who inflicts upon a child serious physical injury or, having the care or custody of such child, causes or permits another to inflict serious physical injury upon a child is guilty of an offense as follows:

  • The offense is a felony of the second degree if done intentionally or knowingly
  • The offense is a felony of the third degree if done intentionally or knowingly
  • The offense is a class A misdemeanor if done with criminal negligence

Any person who inflicts upon a child physical injury or, having the care or custody of such child, causes or permits another to inflict physical injury upon a child is guilty of an offense as follows:

  • The offense is a class A misdemeanor if done knowingly or intentionally
  • The offense is a class B misdemeanor if done recklessly
  • The offense is a class C misdemeanor if done with criminal negligence

A person who commits child abandonment, or encourages or causes another to commit child abandonment, or an enterprise that encourages, commands, or causes another to commit child abandonment, is:

  • Guilty of a third degree felony
  • Guilty of a second degree felony if as a result of child abandonment:
    • The child suffers serious physical injury
    • The person or enterprise receives, directly or indirectly, any benefit

Committing domestic violence in the presence of a child is also considered child abuse in the state of Utah.

Failing to report child abuse in the state of Utah is a Class B misdemeanor.

“Child abandonment” means that a parent or legal guardian of a child:

  • intentionally ceases to maintain physical custody of the child;
  • intentionally fails to make reasonable arrangements for the safety, care, and physical custody of the child; and
    • intentionally fails to provide the child with food, shelter, or clothing;
    • manifests an intent to permanently not resume physical custody of the child; or
    • for a period of at least 30 days:
      • intentionally fails to resume physical custody of the child; and
      • fails to manifest a genuine intent to resume physical custody of the child.

“Physical injuries” and “Serious physical injuries” to a child in the state of Utah

Utah Criminal Code §76-5-109

“Physical injury” to a child in the State of Utah is any injury to or condition of a child which impairs the physical condition of the child. Such injuries include:

  • a bruise or other contusion of the skin
  • a minor laceration or abrasion
  • failure to thrive or malnutrition

“Serious physical injury” means any physical injury or set of injuries that:

  • seriously impairs the child’s health;
  • involves physical torture;
  • causes serious emotional harm to the child; or
  • involves a substantial risk of death to the child.

Examples of a “Serious physical injury” would be:

  • fracture of any bone or bones;
  • intracranial bleeding, swelling or contusion of the brain, whether caused by blows, shaking, or causing the child’s head to impact with an object or surface;
  • any burn, including burns inflicted by hot water, or those caused by placing a hot object upon the skin or body of the child;
  • any injury caused by use of a dangerous weapon (defined in Section 76-1-601);
  • any combination of two or more physical injuries inflicted by the same person, either at the same time or on different occasions;
  • any damage to internal organs of the body;
  • any conduct toward a child that results in severe emotional harm, severe developmental delay or intellectual disability, or severe impairment of the child’s ability to function;
  • any injury that creates a permanent disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member, limb, or organ;
  • any conduct that causes a child to cease breathing, even if resuscitation is successful following the conduct; or
  • any conduct that results in starvation or failure to thrive or malnutrition that jeopardizes the child’s life

Rape of a child in Utah

Utah Criminal Code §76-5-401.1

A person commits rape of a child when the person has sexual intercourse with a child who is under the age of 14. Raoe of a child is a first degree felony in the state of Utah, punishable by up to life in prison.

Sexual abuse of a child in Utah

Utah Criminal Code §76-5-404.1

A person commits sexual abuse of a child if, under circumstances not amounting to rape of a child, object rape of a child, sodomy on a child, or an attempt to commit any of these offenses, the actor touches the anus, buttocks, or genitalia of any child, the breast of a female child, or otherwise takes indecent liberties with a child, or causes a child to take indecent liberties with the actor or another with intent to cause substantial emotional or bodily pain to any person or with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person regardless of the sex of any participant.

The state of Utah requires all individuals– both public officials and private citizens– to report child abuse to the nearest peace officer, law enforcement, or the Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS).

You can learn more about Utah child abuse laws by visiting the Utah.gov website.


Child Abuse- Consequences of a Guilty Verdict

You can learn more about penalties for child abuse crimes in Utah by visiting the utcourts.gov website.

The penalty for a child abuse conviction varies depending on the seriousness of the crime and degree of “physical injury” inflicted on the child and whether the injury was inflicted intentionally or knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence. Also, you can be convicted of a child abuse crime if you intentionally or knowingly cause or permit another to inflict an injury upon a child while the child is in your care or custody.

If you are found guilty of child abuse or a crime against a child, in the state of Utah the convictions can range from a Class A misdemeanor to a First Degree Felony. Child abuse charges are very serious and a guilty verdict can result in prison time. It is essential you meet with a qualified criminal defense attorney in Utah to discuss your case.

Penalties for crimes involving child abuse in Utah

First degree felonies in the state of Utah

Utah Criminal Code 76-3-202

  • A person who has pled guilty to or been convicted of a first degree felony shall be sentenced to:
    • 5 years to life in prison
    • Up to $10,000 in fines

A child abuse case in Utah involving murder, rape of a child, child kidnapping, or aggravated sexual assault of a child could result in a first degree felony charge and conviction.

Second degree felonies in the state of Utah

Utah Criminal Code 76-3-202

  • A person who has pled guilty to or been convicted of a second degree felony shall be sentenced to:
    • One to 15 years in prison
    • Up to $10,000 in fines

A child abuse case in Utah involving manslaughter, forcible sexual abuse, and intentional child abuse could result in a second degree felony charge and conviction.

Third degree felonies in the state of Utah

Utah Criminal Code 76-3-202

  • A person who has pled guilty to or been convicted of a third degree felony shall be sentenced to:
    • Zero to 5 years in prison
    • Up to $5000 in fines

A child abuse case in Utah involving aggravated assault or domestic violence in the presence of a child resulting in criminal homicide could result in a third degree felony charge and conviction.

Class A misdemeanors in the state of Utah

Utah Criminal Code 76-3-301

  • A person who has pled guilty to or been convicted of a class A misdemeanor shall be sentenced to:
    • Up to one year in jail
    • Up to $2500 in fines

A child abuse case in Utah involving negligent homicide could result in a class A misdemeanor.

Class B misdemeanors in the state of Utah

Utah Criminal Code 76-3-301

  • A person who has pled guilty to or been convicted of a class B misdemeanor shall be sentenced to:
    • Up to six months in jail
    • Up to $1,000

A child abuse case in Utah involving committing an act of domestic violence in the presence of a child or failure to report child abuse could result in a Class B misdemeanor charge or conviction.


Utah Criminal Defense Lawyer in Layton, Utah

If you are facing a child abuse crime conviction, the consequences could include serious jail and/or prison time and thousands of dollars in fines. Contact our Layton criminal defense lawyers and get the help and legal defense you need. As your criminal defense lawyers, we will provide you with an aggressive defense to help protect your freedom, overcome your charges, and keep you out of jail. Our criminal defense team is based in Layton, Utah and represents clients throughout the state of Utah.

Criminal Defense Attorney in Layton, Utah

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The information on provided on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. The use of this website does not create an attorney-client relationship. The viewing and receipt of the information on this site, or the use of the online submission form, does not constitute and attorney-client relationship. You should consult a qualified attorney in your state for advice regarding your situation.