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Process of Risk of Injury to a Minor Charges in Maryland

Risk of injury to a minor charges can result in serious consequences. In Maryland, there are counties that maintain a child advocacy center, which is a resource of Child Protective Services and detective or law enforcement. Oftentimes, they will have a special prosecutor that is specifically assigned to that center to the investigate types of risk injury to a minor charges. Contact a skilled domestic violence lawyer for more information regarding the process of investigating a risk of injury to a minor charge in Maryland.

Investigation Following a Claim

In Maryland, the child protective services (CPS), a division of the Department of Social Services, are the ones who respond to claims of risk injury to a minor. The process starts with someone notifying CPS of a child that may be abused or neglected. Those notifications can come from a variety of sources, including anonymous sources.

The report may come from teachers or school nurses or other people that are mandated reporters, which means that they are mandated by law to notify CPS if they suspect any abuse or neglect of a child. Once CPS is involved, they will begin an investigation, and it can be frightening for a family because CPS has a lot of authority and they will want to interview the child.

Depending on the age of the child, CPS may go to a child’s school and interview the child outside the presence of the parent. They have the ability to temporarily remove the child from the parent’s care and place them with another family member or potentially in foster care. They will then conduct their own investigation that has more civil consequences, but they also will work hand in hand with law enforcement.

Determining Physical Well-Being and Mental Health Risks

Behavior that poses a risk to the physical well-being of a child is more obvious because circumstances like that would include more overt signs like not providing food, clothing, or shelter to the child. For example, when a person sees a scenario in which a child is underdeveloped as a result of lack of proper nutrition, dental issues, or other signs of neglect or abuse, that would be considered a threat to their physical well-being.

While a neglect resulting in a lack of physical well-being in a child is more obvious, mental injury can be less apparent. Mental injury is when there has been substantial impairment to a minor in their ability to function. If a child has a mental health or psychological ailment and they have not received treatment and it affects their ability to function, that would be considered a mental injury.

Criminal Court Process in a Risk of Injury for a Minor Arrest

Upon arrest, a person would be seen by a commissioner who would set a bond or might determine that the person could be released on their own recognizance and their case would then be scheduled for a trial date. If the allegations are a misdemeanor, then the case would receive a trial date in the district court. If one is alleged is a felony then the person would, instead of being scheduled for a trial in district court, be able to have a preliminary hearing in the district court. That is when the court would determine if there was probable cause to move the case on to circuit court.

Considering Laws about Corporal Punishment and Physical Discipline in Maryland

The laws involving corporal punishment and physically disciplining a child are on a thin line because Maryland recognizes a parent’s ability or a parent’s option to physically discipline their child. It is a gray area and if the punishment is considered excessive, then it could potentially be a criminal act of physical child abuse. It depends on what facts are alleged. Spanking a child, for instance, is not necessarily going to be considered child abuse.

However, spanking a child to the point of bruising would be considered child abuse. Beating a child using something like a belt is less likely to be considered child abuse and more likely to be considered corporal punishment if it does not leave a mark. If a child has bruises or children have lacerations as a result of being beaten with a belt, then the abuse goes beyond corporal punishment and would be a crime of physical child abuse.

Risk of Injury to a Minor in Maryland