Child Abuse

Child abuse allegations can be life-altering. Not only do you have to face looming statutory penalties, but also, the negative social stigma from the charges can be overwhelming. In some cases, child abuse charges can arise from a simple misunderstanding.

It’s common for the jury to punish an alleged child abuser to the fullest extent of the law. A conviction for child abuse can result in felony charges. You may have to face expensive fines, possible incarceration, and a tarnished professional and personal life. 

If you or someone you know is facing child abuse accusations it’s in your best interest to obtain trusted legal representation.

Child Abuse Lawyers in San Antonio, Texas

Accusations of child abuse can result in criminal charges. You could lose your ability to parent and even face prison time. It is crucial that you stay silent with law enforcement or other investigators. Contact an attorney at Flanary Law Firm, PLLC today.

Flanary Law Firm, PLLC is experienced in handling all sorts of domestic violence cases in Texas criminal courts. Our attorneys will make every effort to help you achieve the best possible outcome for your case. Take the steps in building your defense now. Call the attorneys at (210) 738-8383 for a free consultation for your case today.

Our attorneys practice law throughout the Bexar County area and adjacent counties including Atascosa County, Fayette County, Bandera County, Kendall County, and Wilson County.

Gain a legal partner with the attorneys at Flanary Law Firm, PLLC. Call us now at (210) 738-8383. 

Overview for Child Abuse Laws in Texas


Definition for Child Abuse in San Antonio, Texas

Child abuse is a broad term under Texas law. It can incorporate many situations, and not all of them are direct acts of harm against the child. Under Texas Penal Code § 22.04, a person commits the act of child abuse if he or she intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence causes any of the following to a child:

  • Serious bodily injury;
  • Bodily injury;
  • Serious mental deficiency, impairment, or injury.

Texas Penal Code § 1.07(8) defines “bodily injury” as any physical pain, illness, or any impairment of the physical condition. The term “serious bodily injury” is defined as any bodily injury that creates a substantial risk of death, permanent disfigurement, loss or impairment of a bodily member or organ. For instance, losing a limb or severe paralysis would be considered a serious bodily injury. 

Not every child abuse case is intentional. A person can be charged with child abuse by causing bodily injury or serious bodily injury by omission. An offender can exhibit behavior that is considered abuse by omission if they:

  • Have legal or statutory duty to act; or
  • Have assumed care, custody, or control of a child. 

This means that the alleged offender has assumed care, custody, or control over the child. By doing this, the alleged offender is agreeing to accept the responsibility for protecting, feeding, sheltering, and providing medical care for the child. If the alleged offender does not uphold this standard of care and it results in bodily injury or serious bodily injury, he or she may be charged with child abuse. 


Mental States for Child Abuse Penalties

The penalties for child abuse charges are reliant on the mental state of the alleged offender during the offense. An individual can act intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence when they allegedly commit child abuse. 

Texas Penal Code § 6.03 defines the following mental states that determine the penalties for a child abuse offense: 

  • Knowingly – If the alleged offender is aware of their conduct and is reasonably certain on what the result will be.
  • Intentionally – If the alleged offender commits some type of conduct and it’s in their desire or conscious objective to engage in conduct, or to cause the result.
  • Recklessly – If the alleged offender commits the act and is aware of the possible consequence of the conduct, but consciously disregards the possibility the result will occur.
  • Criminal Negligence – If the alleged offender is aware of the substantial and unjustifiable risk that may result from the conduct.

Penalties for Child Abuse in Bexar County, Texas

In Texas, child abuse penalties are reliant on the mental state the alleged offender was in during the offense. If the alleged offender committed child abuse by criminal negligence, he or she will face a state jail felony.

If the alleged offender committed child abuse by acting recklessly, he or she will face a state jail felony. Additionally, if the alleged offender causes bodily injury or serious bodily injury to a child by omission, he or she will be charged with a state jail felony.

The maximum penalties for a state jail felony include: 

  • Up to 24 months in jail; and
  • Possible fine of up to $10,000.

If the alleged offender caused bodily injury to a child intentionally or knowingly, he or she will be charged with a felony of the third degree. The maximum penalties for a third-degree felony include:

  • Up to 10 years in prison; and
  • Possible fine of up to $10,000. 

If the alleged offender caused serious bodily or mental injury to a child recklessly, he or she will face a felony of the second degree. The maximum penalties for a second-degree felony include: 

  • Up to 20 years in prison; and
  • Possible fine of up to $10,000.

If the alleged offender caused serious bodily or mental injury intentionally or knowingly, he or she will face a felony of the first degree. The maximum penalties for a third-degree felony include:

  • Up to 99 years or life imprisonment;
  • Possible fine of up to $10,000.

Additional Resources

Texas Child Abuse Laws – Visit the official website for the Texas Penal Code. Find more information regarding child abuse offenses, elderly abuse offenses, and disabled persons abuse offenses. Learn the legal definitions, admissible defenses, and other assault offenses under Texas law. 

Report Abuse, Neglect or Exploitation – Visit the official website for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. Find more information regarding how to file a report for abuse, spotting child abuse, and answers to frequently asked questions surrounding child abuse.


Child Abuse Lawyers in Bexar County, Texas

Are you being investigated for child abuse? Are you unsure on what to do? If the answer is yes, then it is vital that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. A practiced attorney can poke holes in the prosecution’s case, and help you formulate a strong defense.

Flanary Law Firm, PLLC is dedicated to defending those with allegations of child abuse. We want to make sure that your rights are protected. Every person has a right to a fair trial. We want to uphold that right for you. Let us guide you through these murky legal waters. Contact the attorneys at Flanary Law Firm, PLLC today. 

Our attorneys defend residents of the greater San Antonio area and nearby cities including Windcrest, Terrell Hills, Kirby, and Universal City.

Call us at (210) 738-8383, or simply submit an online contact form for a free consultation. 


This article was last updated on September 27, 2018.

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