Being accused of child abuse or child maltreatment can send you into depths that you never believed you could sink to. This is likely because the stigma our society places on people accused of such crimes is probably worse than those accused on sex crimes.
However, the notion that the accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty is a bedrock standard of our legal system. Because of this, there are a number of defenses that may be raised in order to defend one’s self against abuse allegations. This post will highlight a few.
Accidental injury – While an injury may seem ominous or suggest that it was the result of child abuse, a common defense is that the injury occurred as a result of an accident. Examples of true accidents are when a parent backs out of the driveway and unknowingly hits a child. Or in the midst of horseplay, a parent may slip and fall and land on a child.
Injuries created by others – Other non-accidental injuries may occur when a child is involved in a fight with another child, or is sexually abused by another caretaker trusted to watch the child.
Right to discipline – Minnesota law does not prohibit corporal punishment as long as it does not cause bodily injuries (i.e. bruises, cuts, broken bones) and is reasonable given the circumstances. In these circumstances, a parent may raise the defense of “parental privilege.”
If you have questions regarding whether a particular defense would be suitable in your case, an experienced criminal defense attorney can advise you.