Nevada law strictly prohibits conduct that could be considered physical or mental abuse of children. The law also punishes parents or guardians who are neglectful to children, including parents who decline to provide appropriate care to ensure the safety of their children.
Under Nevada law, laws against child abuse are found in Chapter 200 of Title 15. Title 15 is the penal code detailing crimes and punishments in Nevada, and Chapter 200 is a part of this code that addresses crimes against children. There is a subcategory for child abuse offenses in Chapter 200, which details a number of different unlawful behaviors including physical and emotional abuse offenses.
However, the child abuse and neglect section in Chapter 200 also needs to balance the rights of parents with the right of children to be protected by the state. As such, Nevada Revised Statute section 200.5085 makes clear that if parents choose to make a non-traditional decision on medical care, this decision does not mean that parents are neglectful or can be charged with a child neglect offense.
According to Nevada Revised Statute section 200.5085, a child is not abused, the child is not neglected, and the child’s health and welfare is not harmed under the definition of Nevada’s child abuse statute just because a parent or guardian selects an alternative non-medical treatment for the child.
Whether or not the parent’s selection of a non-medical treatment is protected under this law will depend upon whether the parent acted in good faith when making the treatment decision. The parent must have been prompted by a belief that he was doing the right thing for the child in making the choice on medical care.
The treatment that the parent opts to provide for the child also must be recognized under the laws in the state of Nevada and must be permitted. A parent cannot choose to have a child undergo treatment that is illegal in Nevada and be protected from child abuse charges under N.R.S. 200.5085.
Nick Wooldridge has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in Nevada.
If a prosecutor attempts to bring charges of abuse or charges of neglect against a parent in connection with the parent’s choice of medical care for the child, the parent can point to the provisions of N.R.S. 200.5085 in order to ensure that he or she is not convicted of abuse simply for choosing a medical treatment that may have been different from what most doctors would have recommended or that may have been different from the conventional treatment that most people would have opted to take advantage of for their children.
Although the law exists to protect parents who have the right to make medical decisions on their children’s behalf, there are still circumstances where parents might be prosecuted for their conduct and the decisions they made in connection with seeking care — or not seeking care — for a child who is sick.
If you are a parent or guardian of a child and you have come under suspicion for child abuse or if you have been accused of a child abuse or neglect crime, you need to reach out to a Las Vegas defense attorney as soon as possible.
LV Criminal Defense can assist you in evaluating the case the prosecutor could make against you so you can make informed decisions about how best to respond to charges to protect yourself and your family.
Our legal team can also provide you with help in both negotiating a plea agreement when you are facing charges or fighting for acquittal in court so you can avoid a conviction for an offense that could affect your life and your family’s life in profound ways. To find out more about how our legal team can help you, give us a call today.