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Physical abuse of a child: failing to prevent reckless causing of great bodily harm is a serious felony.  Contact our defense lawyers at (414) 270-0202.

All child abuse cases in Wisconsin are serious.  Those causing significant injuries, like physical abuse of a child: failing to act to prevent reckless causing of great bodily harm, are even more serious.  Certain child abuse cases attract the attention of local news media.  And that’s certainly more consistently the case when the injuries the child suffers are serious.

At Meyer Van Severen, S.C. we defend all criminal cases, including the most serious.  We certainly recognize the importance of having a strong, aggressive ally fighting next to you.  While others immediately judge you, we recognize that you deserve better.  You have a right to due process, and an allegation by itself cannot be enough to conclude anything about your character.  We fight all child abuse cases.

At Meyer Van Severen, S.C. our criminal defense attorneys are specialists.  We regularly defend child abuse cases, and we’re not afraid to defend yours.  Our entire practice is dedicated to defending individuals who have been charged with violating the law.  We recognize the consistent issues our clients deal with, and we want to help you.  Contact Meyer Van Severen, S.C. immediately and let’s start fighting your case.

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What is physical abuse of a child: failing to act to prevent reckless causing of great bodily harm?

Section 948.03(4)(a) of the Wisconsin Statutes prohibits physical abuse of a child: failing to act to prevent reckless causing of great bodily harm.  The law says:

(a) A person responsible for the child’s welfare is guilty of a Class F felony if that person has knowledge that another person intends to cause, is causing or has intentionally or recklessly caused great bodily harm to the child and is physically and emotionally capable of taking action which will prevent the bodily harm from occurring or being repeated, fails to take that action and the failure to act exposes the child to an unreasonable risk of great bodily harm by the other person or facilitates the great bodily harm to the child that is caused by the other person.

Deciphering this statute certainly doesn’t require much legal knowledge.  The statute builds in a few important terms:

  • A person responsible for the child’s welfare
  • Recklessly caused
  • Great bodily harm
  • Physically and emotionally capable.

Certainly understanding these terms and others is necessary to your defense.

What are the elements of this offense?

All crimes in Wisconsin have certain elements that the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt.  An element is a part of a crime.  And finally, the government must prove each of the elements.  Wisconsin Criminal Jury Instruction 2108B provides the elements of this child abuse charge:

  • Firstly, the defendant was a person responsible for the welfare of the child; and
  • Secondly, the victim was under the age of 18 years at the time of the offense; and
  • Thirdly, the abuser recklessly caused great bodily harm to the child; and
  • Fourthly, the defendant knew or believed that the abuser recklessly caused bodily harm to the child; and
  • The defendant was physically and emotionally capable of taking action which would have prevented the great bodily harm from happening; and
  • The defendant failed to take that action; and
  • Finally, the defendant’s alleged failure to act facilitated the great bodily harm to the child that was recklessly caused by the abuser.

Important definitions:

A person responsible for the welfare of a child includes individuals listed in Section 948.01(3) of the Wisconsin Statutes.  The list includes:

the child’s parent; stepparent; guardian; foster parent; an employee of a public or private residential home, institution, or agency; other person legally responsible for the child’s welfare in a residential setting; or a person employed by one legally responsible for the child’s welfare to exercise temporary control or care for the child.

Recklessly causing great bodily harm requires that the defendant’s conduct created a situation of unreasonable risk of harm to the victim and demonstrated a conscious disregard for the safety of the child.

And finally, great bodily harm means an injury which creates a substantial risk of death, or which causes serious permanent disfigurement, or which causes a permanent or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ or other serious bodily injury.

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Physical abuse of a child: failing to act to prevent reckless causing of great bodily harm is a serious felony. Contact our experts at (414) 270-0202 for top criminal defense representation.

How do we defend my child abuse case?

Certainly the first place we’ll start is the elements.  Has the government failed to satisfy an element?  If so, we’ll likely argue that the criminal complaint does give a basis for the defendant’s charge.  We make this argument at the initial appearance.  If the government continues the case, we will maintain this defense strategy through trial.

Secondly, is the child a credible witness? Child witnesses are notoriously untrustworthy.  Social workers who interview child witnesses must regularly determine whether the child knows the difference between the truth and a lie.  Certainly the fact that this is even a question indicates the potential issues involved in child abuse cases.

Finally, were you physically and emotionally capable of stopping the child abuse from occurring.  Certainly this is a regularly issue we encounter in child abuse cases.  For example, was it a spouse who committed the child abuse?  Was that spouse larger than you?  Did he or she have an imposing physical presence? Was there abuse present in the relationship?  Certainly all of those factors make it less likely you were able to physically stop the child abuse.

Finally, contact Meyer Van Severen, S.C. to speak with a child abuse defense attorney

The criminal defense lawyers at Meyer Van Severen, S.C. are consistently recognized among the best in Wisconsin.  We’re proud of this achievement because it means we’re getting good results for clients.  We recognize that you’re certainly experiencing the most painful, difficult experience of your entire life.  Your friends, family, and co-workers might stop responding to your texts.  After the first few court dates they might stop checking in with you.

We understand the pain you’re experiencing, and we want to help.  Our criminal defense attorneys are available 24/7 at (414) 270-0202.  Give us a call.  Let’s start fighting your case.