Child Abuse

Child Abuse & Kidnapping Defense Lawyer in Yuma

Experienced Attorney Protecting Clients Accused of Crimes Against Children

Being charged with child abuse can ruin your career, your personal life, and your reputation, and a conviction can not only put you in prison but also brand you for life. You need an experienced attorney who will aggressively defend you and seek all possible options to positively resolve such accusations on your behalf.

At the Law Office of Phil Hineman, P.C. in Yuma, Attorney Phil Hineman has been practicing for more than 30 years and has experience with complex child abuse cases as both a prosecutor and a defense attorney. We have handled over 250 criminal jury trials and leverage that experience to benefit all of our clients.

Call (928) 224-3230 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation as soon as possible after an arrest.

Penalties for Child Abuse & Related Crimes

Child abuse crimes are felonies in Arizona, punishable by maximum prison terms of 2 to 12.5 years, depending on the specific offense and on whether it was intentional, reckless, or negligent.

Other consequences of a child abuse conviction may include:

  • For certain offenses, a lifetime of registering as a sex offender
  • Ineligibility for professional licenses, such as teaching, medicine, or real estate
  • Loss of the rights to vote or own firearms
  • For parents, loss of custody or visitation rights

In addition, when child abuse and certain other offenses are committed against minors under 15 years of age, they are designated as “dangerous crimes against children,” carrying mandatory minimum sentences as high as 23 years and maximums of up to 37 years.

What Crimes Are Considered Child Abuse?

Arizona Revised Statutes §8-201 defines child abuse as inflicting or allowing physical injury, impairment of bodily function, or disfigurement upon a person under the age of 18. Physical injury includes physical conditions that imperil a child’s health or welfare, including malnutrition, dehydration, disease, and other ailments.

Child abuse includes:

  • Sexual crimes such as incest, sexual abuse, sexual assault, molestation, sexual exploitation, and child sex trafficking
  • Permitting a child to enter or remain in certain dangerous structures or vehicles
  • Unreasonable confinement of a child
  • Infliction of serious emotional damage
  • Physical violence or threats of violence against a child can also be prosecuted as assault and battery.

Kidnapping, which is also a separate crime, may be charged as child abuse if the youthful victim or a third person is placed in reasonable apprehension of imminent physical injury. A kidnapper who crosses state lines may face a federal prosecution with its own possible criminal penalties.

What the Prosecution Needs to Prove

Child abuse need not be intentional to be criminal. Neglect and reckless endangerment are also grounds for prosecution. In such cases, the prosecutor must prove that physical or emotional harm resulted from a parent’s or caregiver’s failure to protect the child.

Intentional and knowing acts of abuse are often difficult to prove, especially when based on the child victim’s uncorroborated testimony. A child psychologist or other expert is sometimes called on to help evaluate and clarify the child’s account. However, most states, including Arizona, do not allow an expert witness to give an opinion about the child’s credibility.

When serious emotional damage is alleged, it must be diagnosed by a medical doctor or psychologist based on evidence of severe anxiety, depression, withdrawal, or untoward aggressive behavior.

Providing a Vigorous Defense to Child Abuse Charges

Whether child abuse is alleged to have been intentional, reckless, or negligent, an experienced Yuma child abuse defense attorney will force the prosecutor to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. This involves casting doubt on the testimony of witnesses, including the child, and revealing possible fabrications or exaggerations. Another element of a strong defense is positive proof of a loving and caring relationship that weakens the credibility of allegations of abuse. As a former prosecutor, Attorney Hineman knows how to spot holes in the state’s case and to rebut the evidence without attacking the child victim.

Rely on our broad experience and diligent representation. Call (928) 224-3230 when you’ve been accused or arrested.

Trusted Yuma Child Abuse Defense Attorney

At the Law Office of Phil Hineman, P.C., we defend clients in child abuse cases, knowing full well the serious consequences of a conviction. If you are have been arrested or charged with such an offense, contact our firm online to schedule a free consultation.

  • He aggressively, but tactfully, fought for my voice to be heard in court and he went the extra mile.

    “My experience was very positive and I found him and his associates to be well-prepared and knowledgeable.”

    - David K.
  • I highly recommend them if you need to file bankruptcy.

    “Phil Hineman and his staff have been very helpful and supportive during this difficult time. Guidance was given and questions always answered.”

    - Bob R.
  • Mr. Hineman was very helpful.

    “Mr. Hineman was very helpful and kept us updated with everything we needed to get through our bankruptcy.”

    - Walter R.
  • If you're in trouble, do not hesitate to call on Mr. Hineman's help.

    “Phil Hineman's a good lawyer. He helped me in my case, lowered my punishment by the judge, and got rid of a few charges like how I asked. If you're in trouble, do not hesitate to call on Mr. Hineman's ...”

    - Kristian H.
  • If you want a fantastic lawyer, Mr. Hienman is your man.

    “Mr. Hienman is the most understanding lawyer I have ever met. I prayed for Mr. Hienman to call me without even knowing him or meeting him.”

    - Belinda G.
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Phil Hineman has been providing bankruptcy, family law, and criminal law services for the community for over 25 years. Reach out to discuss your case today.