Cruelty to Children
In January of this year, one of David and Louise Turpin’s 13 children escaped their home and called 911 to report one of the worse cases of child cruelty this country has recently seen. According to various news reports, the couple: physically abused their children by beating and choking them, tied them to beds for weeks and months at a time and deprived them of food. Both husband and wife were each charged with six counts of child abuse plus multiple charges of false imprisonment and torture. If convicted, the couple faces 94 years in prison. This all happened in California. So, what about cruelty to children charges in Georgia?
Georgia Cruelty to Children Laws Broken Down…
In Georgia, the crime of cruelty to children is broken down into three different degrees: first-degree cruelty, second-degree cruelty and third-degree cruelty.
A parent, guardian or other person supervising the welfare of a child under the age of 18 commits the offense of cruelty to children in the first degree when such person willfully deprives the child of necessary sustenance to the extent that the child’s health or well-being is jeopardized. Further, a first-degree cruelty to children offense includes when any person maliciously causes a child under the age of 18 cruel or excessive physical or mental pain. O.C.G.A. §16-5-70 (a) (b).
A second-degree cruelty to children charge arises when a person with criminal negligence causes a child under the age of 18 cruel or excessive physical or mental pain. O.C.G.A. §16-5-70 (c).
Third-degree cruelty to children occurs when a person who is the primary aggressor intentionally allows a child under the age of 18 to witness the commission of a forcible felony, battery, or family violence battery; or, a person who is the primary aggressor, having knowledge that a child under the age of 18 is present and sees or hears the act, commits a forcible felony, battery, or family violence battery. O.C.G.A. §16-5-70 (d). The court in the case of Dunn v. State, 292 Ga. 359, (2013) found that there was sufficient evidence to support a conviction for the offense of third-degree cruelty to children when the defendant beat and stabbed his wife in front of their children.
Penalties for Cruelty to Children Offenses…
Cruelty to children in the first-degree is a felony and carries a sentence punished by imprisonment for 5 – 20 years. A second-degree cruelty to children charge is also a felony and carries a sentence punished by imprisonment for 1 – 10 years. A third-degree conviction for cruelty to children is a misdemeanor upon the first and second conviction that carries up to a 12-month sentence term. A third conviction or subsequent conviction of cruelty to children in the third degree is a felony and carries a 1 – 3 year prison sentence and/or a fine up to $5,000.
Contact Bixon Law…
A cruelty to children charge can be difficult to fight and also damaging to a person’s reputation as most crimes against children are whether or not the accused is proven innocent or guilty. The team at Bixon Law is here to help. We will work tirelessly on your case if you have been charged with cruelty to children in Georgia and vigorously defend you against such accusations. If you or a loved one has been charged with a cruelty to children offense, please call us at 404-551-5684 for a free consultation today.