Child abuse can be charged as either intentional child abuse or negligent child abuse.
Child abuse is defined as: a person knowingly, intentionally, or negligently, and without justifiable cause, causing or permitting a child to be:
(1) placed in a situation that may endanger the child’s life or health;
(2) tortured, cruelly confined or cruelly punished; or
(3) exposed to the inclemency of the weather.
Child abuse is a very serious allegation that not only has the potential of criminal penalties (jail/prison time), but civil consequences as well (losing custody of your child and having your paternal rights terminated).
A person who commits abuse of a child that does not result in the child’s death or great bodily harm is, for a first offense, guilty of a third degree felony and for second or subsequent offenses guilty of a second degree felony. If the abuse results in great bodily harm to the child, the person is guilty of a first degree felony.
If the abuse results in the death of a child, the accused can face anything from a first degree felony to life in prison.
Abandonment of a child is the parent, guardian or custodian of a child intentionally leaving or abandoning the child under circumstances whereby the child may or does suffer neglect. A person who commits abandonment of a child is guilty of a misdemeanor, unless the abandonment results in the child’s death or great bodily harm, in which case the person is guilty of a second degree felony.