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Child Abuse Defense Attorney Serving Nashville, Tennessee

If you've been charged with child abuse in Nashville, Tennessee, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. Child abuse is a serious crime with severe consequences.  

Not only are you looking at the possibility of losing custody of your child, but you're also potentially facing a long time in jail. Accidents can happen. Accusations can be fabricated or blown out of proportion. Children can be coached to lie. If you find yourself in any of these situations and charged with one of these crimes, you need a competent attorney who will zealously defend you and stand by you while the truth is brought to light. 

At Moreland Law Firm, our child abuse defense attorney has the experience and dedication needed to fight for your rights in court. We understand that being accused of child abuse is a frightening and emotionally-charged experience, but we're committed to providing you with strong and effective legal representation. You deserve an outcome that matches the truth, and our team is here to help you achieve it. 

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Child Abuse & Endangerment in Tennessee

Child abuse refers to the deliberate mistreatment or harmful treatment of a child under the age of eighteen, which can result in physical, emotional, or psychological harm, as well as negatively impact their overall well-being.  

Different states have varying crime classifications for child abuse, and Tennessee (Tennessee Code § 39-15-401) is no exception:

  • Knowingly inflicting injury on a child under eighteen is a Class A misdemeanor

  • If the child is eight or less, it becomes a Class D felony

  • Neglecting a child under eighteen, adversely affecting their health and welfare, is also a Class A misdemeanor

  • If the neglected child is eight or less, it becomes a Class E felony

Child endangerment occurs when a parent or custodian knowingly exposes a child who is eight years old or younger to abuse or neglect, resulting in physical injury or imminent danger. This is classified as a Class A misdemeanor

Aggravated Abuse & Haley's Law

Aggravated child abuse, neglect, and endangerment are serious crimes in Tennessee, as outlined in "Haley's Law." These offenses occur when child abuse, neglect, or endangerment results in serious bodily injury to the child or involves the use of a deadly weapon, dangerous instrumentality, or controlled substance.  

The penalty is a Class B felony, but if the victim is eight years of age or younger or is vulnerable due to mental or physical disabilities, the penalty is a Class A felony (Tennessee Code § 39-15-402). 

The Role of the Department of Children's Services (DCS)

The Department of Children's Services (DCS) is responsible for launching a prompt and thorough investigation when suspicions or reports of child abuse arise. The department's investigators work diligently to assess the situation, ensuring the child's immediate safety. They also collaborate with law enforcement, medical professionals, and social workers to accurately evaluate the claims and initiate interventions when necessary.

Their primary objective is to safeguard the child from harm and provide support systems to foster a nurturing environment. In severe cases, this may include removing the child from potentially dangerous circumstances and placing them in protective custody. DCS also offers rehabilitative services to families affected by abuse, which helps in the prevention of further incidents and supports the healing process.

It's critical to understand your rights and obligations when dealing with DCS. At Moreland Law Firm, we ensure that your rights are protected and that you have a clear understanding of the process. We stand by your side throughout the investigation, providing advice, support, and vigorous defense. 

Understanding the Different Types of Child Abuse

Child abuse manifests in different forms, all of which have lasting impacts on the health and development of a child. Physical abuse involves actions, such as hitting, kicking, or burning, that cause bodily harm. Emotional abuse, on the other hand, encompasses acts like intimidation, humiliation, or isolation that can lead to psychological scars. Sexual abuse includes any sort of coercive sexual conduct aimed at children, while neglect is the failure to provide essential care, supervision, and guidance necessary for a child's well-being.  

It's imperative to recognize that these types of abuse not only have immediate consequences but also have the potential to create deep trauma that can affect a child's ability to thrive later in life. Our firm handles these matters with the utmost sensitivity and fierceness needed to protect our client's interests and uphold their rights.  

At Moreland Law Firm, we're well aware of the delicate nature of these cases and provide our clients with a compassionate defense.  

Secure Strong Representation

Having the support of an experienced attorney like Jay Moreland is crucial when facing allegations of child abuse and dealing with DCS.  

At Moreland Law Firm, we provide valuable guidance and representation throughout the legal process, ensuring that your rights are protected. We thoroughly investigate the allegations, gather evidence, and build a strong defense strategy tailored to your specific case.  

Jay Moreland is a seasoned criminal justice attorney who isn't afraid to challenge the prosecution and go toe-to-toe with the state to secure the best possible outcome for his clients. He takes pride in providing a zealous defense and is never intimidated, no matter how high the stakes may be. 

Possible Defenses

When faced with allegations of child abuse, several defense strategies may be applicable, depending on the circumstances of your case. Here's a sampling of potential defenses that could apply to your situation:  

  • One common defense is lack of intent, where the attorney argues that any harm caused was accidental and not the result of deliberate action.  

  • Another potential defense is false allegations, as sometimes false claims of child abuse arise from misunderstandings, family disputes, or malicious intent.  

  • Misdiagnosis of medical conditions can also lead to unfounded abuse charges, where symptoms of a legitimate medical issue are mistaken for signs of abuse.  

  • In addition, attorneys may explore the defense of parental rights, asserting that actions taken were within the bounds of reasonable disciplinary measures and not abusive.  

At Moreland Law Firm, we take the time to fully assess every facet of the allegations to mount the most robust defense possible. 

Child Abuse Defense Attorney Serving Nashville, Tennessee

Facing charges of child abuse or neglect can be an overwhelming experience, but you don't have to face it alone. At Moreland Law Firm, we're here to help. Contact us today for a consultation, and let us fight for your rights and your future. Our Nashville criminal lawyer proudly serves people throughout the surrounding areas, including Franklin, Murfreesboro, Lebanon, Columbia, and Dickson.