Child Abuse / Neglect Defense Lawyer in Cincinnati
When a parent or legal guardian is accused of abusing or neglecting a child in Ohio, prosecutors take the charges very seriously and seek maximum punishments. Several alleged offenders face criminal charges merely for attempts to discipline children.
In some domestic violence cases, alleged offenders can even be charged based on false allegations by spouses or partners who may seek leverage in divorce or child custody proceedings. Regardless of the specific circumstances surrounding an accusation of child abuse or neglect, the person suspected of the crime does not have to say anything to authorities until they have legal counsel.
The attorneys at Joslyn Law Firm are committed to defending the rights of those accused of crimes. We’ve been named Columbus CEO Magazine’s Top Lawyer, and Super Lawyers selected Brian Joslyn as a Rising Star.
We’ve helped Cincinnati defendants take on criminal charges against them and have successfully gotten them dropped or reduced—and we want to help you do so, too. Brian has earned his reputation as one of the best lawyers in America by working hard to defend the clients that reach out to our firm.
Charges of child abuse and negligence can be scary and overwhelming for anyone. Our compassionate team understands that this is an overwhelming time in your life, and they can handle the heavy lifting. Our team will work tirelessly to investigate your case and create a defense to fight back against these charges to help get your life on track. Reach out today to get started with your child abuse and defense case.
Lawyer for Child Abuse or Neglect Crimes in Cincinnati, OH
According to data reported by the Ohio Children’s Trust Fund, child abuse or neglect is a significant problem. Physical abuse and neglect reports counted towards 56 percent of all child abuse reports gathered by the Public Children Services Association of Ohio. Among these reports, 14 percent of these reports were for multiple allegations of neglect or abuse.
If you were arrested or think that you could be under investigation for alleged child abuse or neglect in Hamilton County, a domestic violence lawyer serving Cincinnati might be able to help you. Joslyn Law Firm helps clients all over the greater Cincinnati area, including Reading, Harrison, Miamitown, Colerain, Green, Miami, Symmes, Norwood, Blue Ash, and many other nearby communities in southwestern Ohio.
Charges of child neglect and abuse can cover a wide range of circumstances, but our lawyers can examine your case to see if the charges are accurate or correctly applied to your case. The defense may have evidence that is not admissible, or someone violated your rights during the investigation.
Know that our lawyers aren’t afraid to represent your case in court, and our team will always treat you with the utmost respect. We know what to look for and what arguments can improve your chances, and we will keep you informed every step of the way. Our award-winning firm will leave no stone unturned if you hire our team
Cincinnati criminal defense attorney Brian Joslyn and his team can conduct a thorough investigation and try to get your domestic violence charges reduced or dismissed. You can have our legal team review your case and discuss your options as soon as you call for a free consultation at (513) 399-6289.
Ohio Child Abuse and Neglect Information Center
- Child Abuse Definitions in Hamilton County
- Child Abuse Penalties in Cincinnati
- Evidence in Child Abuse & Neglect Cases in Cincinnati
- Defenses to Ohio Child Abuse & Neglect Charges
- Ohio Child Abuse Arrest Resources
- Ohio Child Abuse and Neglect News
- FAQs for Child Abuse & Neglect in Ohio
- Cincinnati Child Abuse Defense Lawyer
Child Abuse Definitions in Hamilton County
State law in Ohio has specific definitions relating to abused and neglected children. Ohio Revised Code § 2151.03 defines a neglected child as any child:
- Who is abandoned by the child’s parents, guardian, or custodian
- Who lacks adequate parental care because of the faults or habits of the child’s parents, guardian, or custodian
- Whose parents, guardian, or custodian neglects the child or refuses to provide proper or necessary subsistence, education, medical or surgical care or treatment, or other care necessary for the child’s health, morals, or well-being
- Whose parents, guardian, or custodian neglects the child or refuses to provide the special care made necessary by the child’s mental condition
- Who, because of the omission of the child’s parents, guardian, or custodian, suffers physical or mental injuries that harm or threaten the child’s health or welfare
- Who is subjected to out-of-home care child neglect
Division (B) of this chapter of the Ohio Revised Code establishes that a parent, guardian, or custodian of a child cannot be criminally liable when, solely in the practice of religious beliefs, they fail to provide adequate medical or surgical care or treatment for the child.
An abused child, however, is defined under Ohio Revised Code § 2151.031 as any child who:
- Is the victim of “sexual activity,” meaning sexual conduct or sexual contact, or both, where such activity would constitute a criminal offense under Ohio Revised Code 2907 (NOTE:An alleged offender does not need to be convicted of the sexual activity criminal offense for a child to be considered an abused child)
- Is endangered as defined in Ohio Revised Code § 2919.22 (NOTE:An alleged offender does not need to be convicted of the endangerment criminal offense for a child to be considered an abused child)
- Exhibits evidence of any intentional physical or mental injury or death or an injury or death that conflicts with the parents’ or guardian’s story
- Because of the acts of their parents, guardian, or custodian, suffers physical or mental injuries that harm or threaten their health or welfare
- Is subjected to out-of-home care child abuse
Child Abuse Penalties in Cincinnati
Ohio Revised Code § 2919.22(A) makes it a criminal offense for someone with custody of a child under 18 or a mentally or physically disabled child under 21 to risk the child’s health or safety by violating a duty of care, protection, or support. State law provides an exception for the treatment of a physical or mental illness or defect of the child by spiritual means through prayer alone, in accordance with the tenets of a recognized religious body.
A violation of this statute is classified as a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. If an alleged offender has been previously convicted of endangering children or any offense involving neglect, abandonment, contributing to the delinquency of, or physical abuse of a child, the crime becomes a fourth-degree felony punishable by up to 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine. If an alleged offense results in serious physical harm to the child involved, the alleged offense is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Under Ohio Revised Code § 2919.22(B), an alleged offender can also face criminal charges for doing any of the following to a child under 18 years of age or a mentally or physically disabled child under 21 years of age:
- Abusing the child
- Torturing or cruelly abusing the child
- Administering corporal punishment or another excessive physical disciplinary measure
- Physically restraining the child in a cruel manner or for a prolonged period, which was excessive and posed a substantial risk of serious physical harm to the child
- Repeatedly administering unwarranted disciplinary measures to the child when there is a substantial risk that such conduct, if continued, will seriously impede the child’s mental health or development
- Enticing, coercing, permitting, encouraging, compelling, hiring, employing, using, or allowing the child to act, model, or in any other way participate in, or be photographed for, the production, presentation, dissemination, or advertisement of any material or performance that the offender knows or reasonably should know is obscene, is sexually-oriented, or is nudity-oriented
- Knowingly allowing the child to be on the same parcel of real property and within 100 feet of, or, in the same housing unit and within 100 feet of any act of drug manufacturing, whether or not any person is prosecuted for or convicted of drug manufacturing
First offenses for any of the violations listed above are classified as first-degree misdemeanors, and subsequent offenses are fourth-degree felony offenses. Violations that result in serious physical harm to the child involved become second-degree felony offenses punishable by up to eight years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
Evidence in Child Abuse & Neglect Cases in Cincinnati
Any case wherein an individual is accused of child abuse will undergo a fact determining stage via an adjudicatory hearing. The accuser carries the burden of proof for providing enough evidence to establish abuse or neglect. The accused person’s defense lawyer can cross-examine witnesses and submit additional evidence to challenge any evidence the prosecutor introduces.
In an adjudication hearing that takes place for a child abuse/neglect case, the court allows the introduction of any evidence—the formal rules of evidence do not apply. Note that the Ohio Supreme Court allows for hearsay exceptions in child abuse cases in cases of physical violence and sexual abuse. If the child is unavailable to testify, the given statement is trustworthy, there is independent evidence of the alleged abuse, and a 10-day notice is given to all parties, hearsay is permitted.
Ohio Revised Code requires that there be sufficient evidence of physical or mental injury (or death) and that said injury or death was inflicted “other than by accidental means.” Evidence of corporal punishment at an appropriate level by a parent or guardian does not constitute child abuse unless the method of punishment is prohibited under Ohio Revised Code § 2919.22.
The 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution establishes a defendant’s rights in child abuse and neglect investigations. Before depriving a parent of their fundamental right to integrity and privacy, the State must meet a threshold of “clear and convincing evidence” that they have abused or neglected their child.
If, however, the State believes a child suffers the possibility of threatened or immediate serious harm, they have probable cause to remove the child from their home, as established in Ohio Administrative Code § 5101:2-1-01(100).
Defenses to Ohio Child Abuse & Neglect Charges
A child abuse/neglect defense lawyer in Cincinnati can assert several defenses to protect their client from the heavy penalties and collateral consequences of a child abuse/neglect conviction. Examples of these defenses include the following:
Lack of Evidence
The seriousness of a child abuse/neglect charge compels Ohio courts to hold accusers to a high standard of evidence. Evidence must sufficiently support that the child in question suffered mental or physical injury or death. In the absence of medical evidence, marks on the child’s body, or relevant witness testimony, a lawyer can assert this defense.
False Claim of Child Abuse
Well-intentioned individuals can misread exchanges between the child and parent or make erroneous assumptions about the cause of a child’s injuries, then file a child abuse claim with Ohio’s Child Protection Agency. In some cases, a bitter spouse might fabricate claims of child abuse or neglect in an effort to achieve some desired result in a divorce proceeding or with regard to custody.
In other cases, a child might be resentful or angry at a parent and, in the heat of the moment, tell someone they are being abused or neglected as a form of retaliation against the parent. There are many possibilities for how and why someone would make a false child abuse claim.
Sports injuries, kitchen accidents, and simple childhood play can cause bruises, burns, sprains, and bone fractures. A well-meaning person might spot such injuries on a child and assume they resulted from abuse or neglect. There must be sufficient evidence that the child’s injuries were not accidental and that they were caused by the person being accused of child abuse or neglect. Otherwise, the defendant cannot be held liable for such an offense.
Parental Right to Discipline
Ohio law allows parents to exercise corporal punishment to discipline their child, provided they do not threaten the child with serious harm or death. If a parent stands accused of child abuse for merely disciplining their child in an appropriate way, a lawyer will assert this defense. Court News Ohio reports on this right to discipline.
Take note that if a person has filed a false claim of child abuse against you, they put themselves at risk of legal consequences. The accused might choose to file a civil lawsuit against such an individual. Furthermore, the courts consider these frivolous legal claims to represent an abuse of the judicial system.
Ohio Child Abuse Arrest Resources
Anyone who suspect that a child is abuse or neglect can call the JFS hotline (855-O-H-CHILD or 855-642-4453). Certain people are mandated to report abuse by law based on their profession.
Anyone with questions about Ohio Child Protective Services can review this quick fact sheet from the JFS. It explains what CPS does, the differences between traditional and differential responses in the CPS system, and information about confidentiality.
This resource, provided by the Franklin County Law Library, explains the adjudicatory hearing aimed at determining the facts in juvenile cases. The site provides links to the Ohio Revised Code sections that explain the adjudicatory hearing process.
Another source provided by the Franklin County Law Library, this page lays out links to other sections of the Ohio Revised Code dealing with criminal laws pertaining to child abuse and neglect. The page also features links that explain requirements for reporting child abuse and contains a list of books about evidence, investigations, and other subjects of interest to someone accused of child abuse/neglect.
COCA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to and focused on the prevention of child abuse. On this website, you can learn more about COCA, its programs, and the people the organization helped. You can also find information about past and upcoming events as well as some of COCA’s programs.
Council on Child Abuse of Southern Ohio, Inc. (COCA)
4531 Reading Road
Cincinnati, Ohio 45229
This information gathered by the CDC offers information the types of child abuse, ways to recognize and prevent it, and other data recording the long-term impacts of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs).
Family Nurturing Center is a nonprofit social service agency that has services and programs focused on the education, prevention, and treatment of all forms of child abuse and neglect. On this website, you can learn more about the center’s mission, vision, and guiding principles. You can also find information about Family Nurturing Center’s programs, including Nurturing Parenting Programs, Child Abuse Treatment Services, and many others.
Family Nurturing Center
801 A West Eighth Street
Cincinnati, OH 45203
Ohio Child Abuse and Neglect News
Britney Haynes was charged with felonious assault and endangering children—second-degree felonies—and also charged with a third-degree felony of endangering children. Highland County Juvenile court and Probate Judge Kevin Greer issued his decision at an adjudication and disposition hearing on December 8, 2020. The children were ages 15 months and three months old. According to Greer, the court found clear and convincing evidence that Haynes caused her children’s injuries, bruises, and fractures. Haynes did not see that either child received medical treatment. The living conditions in which the children resided were unsanitary and dangerous. The children were taken into temporary custody, and Greer issued a rare “no-contact” order for both parents.
Initially, in Ohio, reports of child abuse and neglect dropped dramatically during COVID-19 quarantine restrictions. However, six months later, the reports began to rise. In the uptick, child protection workers reported more cases of severe physical abuse than the same time last year. They talk about seeing more cases of shaken babies, more head injuries, and more fractures and broken bones. Kathi Makoroff, medical director of the Mayerson Center for Safe and Healthy Children at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, said she believes the economic stressors are serving as a “driving force” in these cases of child abuse.
The Columbus Dispatch reported that the coronavirus pandemic prompted 20,597 fewer reports of child abuse and neglect in Ohio, as compared with reports at the same time last year. This most likely stems from children attending school virtually, rather than in classrooms at school, where individuals are required to report suspicions and incidents of child abuse and neglect.
FAQs for Child Abuse & Neglect in Ohio
Q: What are the penalties for child abuse and neglect?
A: The penalties for child abuse and neglect in Ohio depend on the circumstances of your case and the severity of the abuse or neglect. A first offense means you could be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor, with a penalty of up to six months in jail, up to $1,000 in fines, and as much as 200 hours of community service. Subsequent offenses are charged as fourth-degree felonies with jail time of six to 18 months, as well as $5,000 in fines and 200 hours of community service. You could be charged with a third-degree felony if the child in question suffered serious physical harm—or a second-degree felony if you have previous charges for the same offense. You will face penalties of up to eight years in prison, $15,000 in fines, and up to 200 hours of community service.
Q: Will I go to jail for child abuse or neglect in Ohio?
You can go to jail or prison if you are convicted of child abuse or neglect in Ohio. The punishment depends on whether it is your first offense of this nature and also on the severity of the child’s injuries. Generally, you run the risk of anywhere from six months to eight years behind bars.
Q: What are some defenses to child abuse and neglect charges in Ohio?
Your lawyer can assert any of several defenses against your charge of child abuse and neglect. Depending on the details of your case, your attorney can argue a false claim, no causation, right to discipline your child, or lack of evidence in a fight to have the charges against you dismissed or reduced.
Q: How can I get child abuse and neglect charges dropped or reduced?
A: A criminal defense attorney can work to get the child abuse and neglect charges against you dropped or reduced. They can mount a defense based on the circumstances of your case.
Q: What is the difference between a neglected child and an abused child in Ohio?
A: As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) differentiates the terms, an abused child suffers from “acts of commission.” In this type of case, the offender does something that can injure the child. On the other hand, a neglected child suffers from “acts of omission.” In this case, the offender’s failure to act can harm the child.
Q: How are child abuse and neglect crimes classified?
A: Crimes of child abuse and neglect include physical assault, unreasonable discipline, sexual abuse, neglect, threats, and emotional abuse. These crimes are charged as either misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the severity of the child abuse/neglect, as well as whether the alleged offender has a history of previous child abuse offenses.
Q: Where can victims of child abuse find help in Cincinnati?
A: Victims of child abuse can find help in various places throughout Cincinnati, including the following:
24-Hour hotline for reports of child abuse or neglect: (513) 241-KIDS (5437)
Mayerson Center for Safe and Healthy Children
3333 Burnet Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio 45229-3026
1-513-636-4200 | 1-800-344-2462
YWCA of Greater Cincinnati Domestic Violence Shelter
Hotline: 513-872-9259 (24⁄7)
Cincinnati Child Abuse Defense Lawyer
Do you believe that you might be under investigation, or were you already arrested in southwest Ohio for alleged child abuse or neglect? You do not need to make any kind of statement to authorities until you have contacted Joslyn Law Firm.
Brian Joslyn is a criminal defense attorney in Cincinnati who represents clients in Montgomery, Bridgetown, Anderson, Delhi, Harrison, Springfield, Sycamore, Forest Park, Springdale, and surrounding areas in Hamilton County. Call (513) 399-6289 to take advantage of a free, confidential consultation where we’ll review your case.