Physical abuse of a child: recklessly causing bodily harm is a serious felony in Wisconsin.

Certainly any felony charge is serious, but physical abuse of a child: recklessly causing bodily harm carries additional detrimental stigmas.  Your friends may judge you, your family members may abandon you, and other members of society may try to judge you based purely on the allegation of child abuse.  Charges involving children frequently invoke quick judgment without understanding the underlying facts of your case.

The criminal defense attorneys at Van Severen Law Office certainly recognize what you’re going through.  We regularly defend individuals in your position.  And finally, we understand.  We certainly recognize that this is the most important, difficult fight of your life.

And that’s why we’re continually strive to fight for the very best results in any criminal case we defend.  The child abuse defense attorneys at Van Severen Law Office regularly achieve positive results for their clients. And that will certainly be our goal in defending you.

To start fighting your case, contact one of our criminal defense lawyers at (414) 270-0202.  Importantly, we answer phones 24/7 and want to help you through this.

What is physical abuse of a child: recklessly causing bodily harm?

Section 948.03(3)(b) of the Wisconsin Statutes prohibits this crime.  The law indicates:

Whoever recklessly causes bodily harm to a child is guilty of a Class I felony.

Reckless child abuse requires the defendant’s actions demonstrate a conscious disregard for the safety of a child, not that the defendant was individually aware of that risk. In contrast, criminal recklessness is defined as when the actor creates an unreasonable and substantial risk of death or great bodily harm to another human being and the actor is aware of that risk. Thus, recklessly causing harm to a child is distinguished from criminal recklessness, because only the latter includes a subjective component. State v. Williams, 296 Wis. 2d 834.

Finally, the statutory language contains a few important terms.  What is a child?  Secondly, what does it mean to recklessly cause bodily harm?  And finally, what’s bodily harm?

Section 948.01(1) defines “child” for purpose of this subsection: child “means a person who has not attained the age of 18 years, except that for purposes of prosecuting a person who is alleged to have violated a state or federal law, ‘child’ does not include a person who has attained the age of 17 years.

We’ll save the rest of the definitions for the jury instructions, which provide an easier definition of the crime.

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What are the elements of this crime?

All crimes in Wisconsin break down into parts, or elements.  Child abuse crimes are certainly no exception.  And finally, Wisconsin JI-Criminal 2112 provides the elements of this offense:

  • Firstly, the defendant caused bodily harm to the victim; and
  • Secondly, the defendant recklessly caused bodily harm; and
  • Finally, the victim had not attained the age of 18 years at the time of the alleged offense.

The jury instructions define “bodily harm” as something that means physical pain or injury, illness, or any impairment of physical condition.

Secondly, the instructions also define recklessly causing bodily harm.  That term 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 victim.  To determine whether that occurred, the fact finder is to determine what the defendant was doing, why he was doing it, how dangerous the conduct was, how obvious the danger was, and whether the conduct showed any regard for the safety of the victim.

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Physical abuse of a child: recklessly causing bodily harm is a felony charge in Wisconsin. Contact one of our aggressive criminal defense attorney for child abuse representation.

How do we defend against child abuse charges in Wisconsin?

All child abuse cases have one factor in common: they involve children.  Certainly that consistency is important while formulating the defense to your charges.  And what do we know about children?  They lie.  While adults lie too, some children don’t even understand the difference between a truth and a lie.  That’s why you’ll hear social workers ask this clarifying question prior to getting a statement from a child.  Unfortunately, those social workers aren’t all honest themselves, and sometimes push children towards the answer they want.  These issues involving credibility are a great place to start in the investigation of your defense.

Contact Van Severen Law Office for any child abuse charge

Our criminal defense attorneys have a significant amount of experience defending child abuse charges.  If you’ve been accused of any crime, contact us immediately.  We answer phones 24/7 at (414) 270-0202.

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