Injury to a Child, Elderly or Disabled Person in Austin, Texas
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While not as common as some other assault charges, Injury to a Child, Elderly or Disabled Individual is still not one to be taken lightly. These charges stem from a variety of sources like severe discipline of a child that causes bodily harm or negligence in a group home or resident care facility. In Texas, it is legal to discipline a child but when that punishment goes too far or is reported by an outside source due to the child’s injury, you may be facing these charges. The charge can also result from negligent conduct that results in injury, such as driving while intoxicated (DWI). The charges can also stem from a simple accident inside the home that the State deems as either intentional, reckless, or negligent conduct on the part of the accused that resulted in injury to the defendant.
On occasion, this charge is associated with another charge like Abandoning or Endangering Child, DWI, or other assault charges. It is important to note that this charge only pertains if the victim is the custody of the defendant at the time of the injury.
If you charged with Injury to a Child, Elderly or Disabled Individual, it is important to have a trusted attorney, like Austin Criminal Defense Attorney Jason Trumpler to help you through your case and its delicate proceedings.
Below Austin Attorney Jason Trumpler discusses the charge of Injury to a Child, Elderly or Disabled Individual. He covers what to do if you are charged with this offense, the range of punishments and how to fight false accusations.
What Does Injury to a Child, Elderly or Disabled Individual Entail?
First, it is essential to realize that not all injuries to a child, elderly or disabled individual that are trusted into your care should result in criminal charges. The main key is that you have to have “intentionally and knowingly” inflicted harm to an individual or "recklessly" or "negligently" caused injury. "Recklessly" and "negligently" are terms of art that are legally defined in the Texas Penal Code. The State must prove one of those three mental states. Often times, the State will charge Injury to a Child, Elderly or Disabled Individual when in truth, it was just an accident.
Second, according to the Texas Penal Code, Injury includes “(1) serious bodily injury; (2) serious mental deficiency, impairment, or injury; or (3) bodily injury." Injury is pretty easy to prove. "Bodily injury" in Texas only requires a complaint of pain on the part of victim.
What are the potential punishments?
As mentioned above, how the case is charged depends on the intent and degree of injury. It will be charged as a State Jail Felony if the defendant acted with criminal negligence. It can be charged as a First Degree Felony, if a defendant acted "intentionally and knowingly" and the conduct resulted in "serious bodily injury" or "serious mental deficiency, impairment, or injury." If the defendant acted "recklessly" and the conduct resulted in "serious bodily injury" or "serious mental deficiency, impairment, or injury," it is charged as a 2nd Degree Felony. If the defendant acted "intentionally and knowingly" and the conduct resulted in "bodily injury," the case is charged as a 3rd Degree Felony.
What role does the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services play?
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) is an organization that can often take a role in investigating these allegations. While they do not prosecute criminally, they will present their findings to the court or police. Their protective services include both child and adult, through both individual families to state run organizations like foster care or nursing homes.
When you are charged, whether proven guilty or not guilty, you will most likely still be observed by or have some involvement with DFPS. Their observation can include home visits, wellness checks, family education classes and intervention programs.
If you have been accused of Injury to a Child, Elderly or Disabled Individual it is imperative that you contact a skilled criminal defense attorney to represent you. Attorney Jason Trumpler is highly qualified and available to take on your case and procure the best possible outcome. He has frequently negotiated reduced charges and dismissals when appropriate on this very charge. When appropriate, he will take your case to trial in front of a jury. Mr. Trumpler has taken approximately 100 trials to verdict in front of a jury. While he cannot guarantee the outcome of any case, he can guarantee that your case will be handled honestly, that the delicate circumstances surrounding your case will be respected, and that his office be available to you at all times. If you or someone you know is facing this type of charge, please do not hesitate to call us immediately at 512-457-5200 to discuss your case.