Criminal law is perhaps the most well-known, but often misunderstood, area of law. From pre-indictment representation through pretrial practice, bench and jury trials, post-conviction representation and everywhere between, the number of permutations of criminal law issues is almost limitless.
Child Abuse (A.R.S. § 13-3621)
Child abuse and neglect allegations are among the most serious offenses in Arizona criminal law. A conviction can result in major consequences, including but not limited to imprisonment, lifetime probation, revocation of professional licenses, and entry on the Central Child Abuse/Neglect Registry.
Mandatory Reporting (A.R.S. § 13-3620)
Failure to report child abuse or neglect can also be charged as a felony crime in Arizona. This includes failure by a parent to report abuse or neglect by the other parent or a significant other, failure by a doctor or teacher to report suspicion of abuse of a patient, and other similar shortcomings.
A parent or guardian may also be suspected of child abuse by way of a factitious disorder, such as Munchausen by proxy. This area of law is extraordinarily complex, involving review of medical and psychological records, and often requires explaining years of parental decisions for a medically vulnerable child.
Suspected Non-Accidental Trauma
Some injuries, such as spiral and buckle fractures, subdural hematomas, retinal hemorrhages, etc. are viewed by the medical community as indicative of non-accidental trauma (i.e. child abuse). Unfortunately, these types of injuries in a young child are often treated as diagnostic of child abuse to the exclusion of other explanations, including birth trauma, brittle bone disorders, hypocalcemia, and other issues. A suspected non-accidental trauma (“SNAT”) case must be analyzed through both legal and medical lenses.