Child Abuse and Vulnerable Adult Abuse (ARS §13-3623) are very serious charges and should not be taken lightly. They can carry significant, life-changing penalties and fines, not to mention including years of prison time. This article discusses what are the child abuse laws, possible defenses and an in depth look at the penalties.
In this video, David Cantor explains these charges:
What is Considered Abuse in the State of Arizona?
According to ARS §8-201, abuse is defined as follows:
The infliction or allowing of physical injury, impairment of bodily function or disfigurement or the infliction of or allowing another person to cause serious emotional damage as evidenced by severe anxiety, depression, withdrawal or untoward aggressive behavior and which emotional damage is diagnosed by a medical doctor or psychologist and is caused by the acts or omissions of an individual who has the care, custody and control of a child.
- Inflicting or allowing sexual abuse pursuant to section 13-1404, sexual conduct with a minor pursuant to ARS 13-1405, sexual assault pursuant to section 13-1406, molestation of a child pursuant to section 13-1410, commercial sexual exploitation of a minor pursuant to section 13-3552, sexual exploitation of a minor pursuant to section 13-3553, incest pursuant to section 13-3608 or child sex trafficking pursuant to section 13-3212.
- Physical injury that results from permitting a child to enter or remain in any structure or vehicle in which volatile, toxic or flammable chemicals are found or equipment is possessed by any person for the purpose of manufacturing a dangerous drug as defined in section 13-3401.
- Unreasonable confinement of a child.
What are some Defenses for Charges of Abuse?
In a child abuse, or vulnerable adult abuse, case in the State of Arizona, the biggest burden of proof is proof of intention. It must be proven that the Defendant meant to harm the victim. If that cannot be proven, the Defendant can get a less harsh conviction and sentence, or even be cleared of all charges. Majority of abuse charges in the State of Arizona are charged under “recklessness” or “negligence” standards because they may be easier to prove.