Child abuse is categorized by degree. First degree abuse is committed by a parent, or custodian, who causes physical harm that results in death or severe injury. The injury must result from inhumane treatment or a malicious act that puts the child in danger.
Second degree abuse occurs when a parent or custodian does not inflict serious injury or death. Second degree abuse can also be committed by a family or household member, unlike first degree, which can only be committed by a parent or custodian.
The distinction between first and second degree child abuse rests on the severity of harm to the child victim. Severe physical injury includes the following:
- Brain injury
- Loss or impairment of a body part
Child abuse penalties are severe, with a sentence of 25 years for a first degree conviction and 15 years for second degree.
Abuse of the Elderly
Maryland law protects against the neglect, abuse, or exploitation of vulnerable adults who cannot protect themselves and are at risk of immediate harm. A vulnerable adult is defined as someone who lacks the physical or mental capacity to care for one’s self and tend to one’s daily needs.
It is a crime for anyone who is responsible for the care and supervision of a vulnerable adult to neglect or abuse that person. Abuse or neglect that results in serious harm or death is a felony is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Less serious instanced of abuse or neglect are prosecuted as misdemeanor second degree abuse charges, punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
Obviously, any criminal charge is serious, and must be vigorously defended. Abuse of the vulnerable carries a certain stigma. The dishonor and lasting consequences, of conviction of an abuse crime in many instances are simply to great to overcome. If you stand accused of abuse, please contact me today to arrange for a free discussion of your case, and your defense.