Nevada Child Abuse and Child Neglect Laws (NRS 200.508)
Nevada law protects children from many forms of violence and neglect by imposing long prison sentences for those convicted of child abuse. A child abuse conviction can also negatively impact your custody rights.
If you are accused of abuse or neglect of a child in Nevada, call a Las Vegas child abuse defense lawyer right away.
What is child abuse and neglect in Nevada?
Nevada parents are required to take responsibility for the care, custody, and control of a minor child. A child abuse or neglect charge states that a parent has violated one or more of these requirements by intentionally inflicting:
- Physical injury;
- Mental injury;
- Sexual abuse;
- Sexual exploitation; or
- Negligent treatment or mistreatment
on a child under the age of 18. The abuse harms or threatens to harm the child’s health or welfare. Child abuse may result in the child’s inability to function in the range of normal performance or behavior.
What is negligent treatment?
Negligent treatment or maltreatment can mean abandoning a child or failing to provide proper care or supervision. This can also mean that the child does not have proper food, access to school, shelter, medical care, or other necessities for the child’s well-being. It is important to understand that this is only a crime if the parent refuses to provide for the child’s welfare, not if the parent cannot provide health insurance, for example.
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Can spanking a child be considered child abuse?
Spanking is not necessarily child abuse; if the spanking becomes excessive corporal punishment, it can constitute abuse or neglect.
Who can be charged with child abuse in Nevada?
Any person responsible for the child (such as a parent or guardian) who abuses the child, who allows another person to abuse the child, or permits the abuse to occur, can be charged with abuse or neglect of a child.
Investigation of Child Abuse and Neglect Charges
Law enforcement and other agencies, including the child’s school and the Division of Family Services, Child Protective Services may become involved when child abuse is suspected. It is important to retain an attorney as soon as possible because reports of abuse do not need to be proven for an investigation to begin.
Sentencing for Child Abuse and Neglect in Nevada
Whether abuse or neglect of a child is a misdemeanor or felony depends four factors:
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- Age of the child;
- Amount of physical or emotional damage to the child;
- Record of prior offenses against the person accused of the abuse; and
- Whether the person actually committed the abuse or just allowed or permitted it to happen.
The most serious penalties are for abuse of a child under the age of 14 who suffers permanent physical or mental suffering from sexual abuse or exploitation. The perpetrator may be guilty of a Category A felony, punishable by imprisonment for life with the possibility of parole after 15 years. If a sexual abuse is not the cause of serious injuries, the abuse may be considered a Category B felony. Nevada Category B felonies carry 2 to 20 years in prison.
Sentences for First Time Offenders in Nevada Child Abuse Cases
If a child is abused, but substantial physical or mental injuries do not occur, a person with no prior record of abuse can be charged with a gross misdemeanor. This can still mean 1 to 6 years in prison, and so retaining a Las Vegas child abuse attorney as soon as possible is very important.
The court will check for child abuse convictions in other states to determine whether this is a first time offense. If not, the potential punishment can increase to 2 to 15 years or more.
Contact LV Criminal Defense to discuss your rights if you have been accused of child abuse in Las Vegas Unfortunately, these claims are sometimes made improperly or without evidence, and you deserve a strong defense.