Oklahoma has a number of statutes that protect children from abuse by punishing perpetrators. There is some overlap among these statutes, allowing prosecutors broad leeway in terms of how to charge a defendant. Child abuse by injury is one of those statutes in Okmulgee.
Child Abuse by Injury: How The Law Defines the Crime
Most of the child abuse that occurs in the United States today occurs at the hands of those people charged with caring for a child. Unfortunately, this is often a parent.
In Oklahoma, child abuse is legally defined as the willful or malicious threatened or actual harm or the failure to protect a child under the age of 18, from real or threatened harm to their health, safety or welfare. This includes willfully or maliciously injuring, torturing or maiming a child. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 843.5
The abuse can be physical, mental or emotional.
What Child Abuse By Injury Looks Like
A person in charge of a child’s welfare who knowingly permits the abuse of that child can be charged with permitting child abuse by injury even if they did not abuse the child directly. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 843.5
That means that an enabler, a mother or father who turns a blind eye, may be charged with child abuse by injury under this statute. If one parent is involved in directly abusing a child, and the other parent knowingly enables the abuse in any way, both parents may be prosecuted.
Enabling child abuse is defined by Oklahoma law as causing, procuring or permitting any willful or malicious act or the threat of harm to a child. It includes the failure to protect a child from harm.
Child abuse can run the gamut from hitting, beating, starving, denying needed medications not based on religious reasons, mental or emotional abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, and abandonment.
Harm or threatened harm to the health or safety of a child is any real or threatened physical, mental, or emotional injury or damage to the body or mind that is not accidental. Okla. Stat. tit. 10a § 1-1-105
Spanking in and of itself is not against the law. A parent is allowed to use “ordinary force” in the punishment of a child, such as spanking, switching or paddling. However, once that force leaves marks such as welts or bruising, it is likely that a parent could be charged with child abuse by injury. Okla. Stat. tit. 10a § 1-1-105
Teachers, doctors, therapists are all mandated reporters. And suspected child abuse will be reported and investigated.
Penalties for Child Abuse by Injury
Child abuse by injury is a felony in Oklahoma. The crime is punishable by anywhere from one year in county jail to life imprisonment, or a fine between $500 and $5,000, or both. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 843.5
If the abuse is sexual and the child is younger than 12, the crime is punishable by 25 years to life in prison.
If you are facing charges for permitting child abuse by injury, you and your family will need help. Contact an experienced Okmulgee criminal law attorney for the help you need.
Call for a Free Consultation With An Experienced Okmulgee Criminal Attorney
Call (918) 756-9600 or (888) Wirth-Law now for a free consultation with an Okmulgee Oklahoma lawyer at the Wirth Law Office – Okmulgee.
Or, enter your legal question or concern in the firm at the top right of this page, and one of our attorneys will email or call you.
Finding the right Okmulgee lawyer for you can be difficult. Call the Wirth Law Office – Okmulgee at (918) 756-9600 and let us demonstrate why Wirth Law is the firm for you.