Child Neglect in Oklahoma: What You Need to Know
Child neglect falls under the umbrella of the child abuse laws in Muskogee, Oklahoma.
Oklahoma has a number of statutes regarding child abuse and there is some overlap between them. This is to ensure that Oklahoma prosecutors have a lot of discretion regarding the charging and prosecution of offenders.
To understand child neglect, you need to understand child abuse law.
Child Abuse Encompasses Child Neglect
In Oklahoma, child abuse is defined as the willful or malicious threatened or actual harm to a child, or the failure to protect a child from real or threatened harm to their health, safety, or welfare.
This definition is quite broad and encompasses all sorts of injury to children. The harm can be physical, mental or emotional, and it includes willfully or maliciously injuring, torturing, or maiming a child. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 843.5
The harm or threatened harm is non-accidental. Okla. Stat. tit. 10A § 1-1-105
This is an important distinction under the law. In order to be prosecuted for child abuse, the harm done must be either willful or malicious.
Accidental harm to a child may be prosecuted under a charge of reckless endangerment, but not under the child abuse statutes.
While the law encompasses major trauma to a child, it can also include such things as starving a child, preventing the provision of adequate healthcare when it is needed, and hitting or striking a child. It can also include mental abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, and abandonment.
The law defines neglect as the failure to provide adequate food, shelter, clothing, medical care, supervision, or other necessities of life.
Neglect can arise out of a number of difficult family dynamics and situations, most notably in situations involving drug and alcohol abuse.
In these households, neglect can result from increased time away from parenting due to searching for and using the substance, decreased funds being spent on the care and nurturing of a child, or impairments to the parents or child as a result of the intoxication. This can result in malnutrition, inadequate healthcare and supervision, poor hygiene, and school truancy.
A parent or other person who willfully or maliciously engages in child neglect and is convicted can be sentenced 1 year in jail to life imprisonment, a fine between $500 and $5,000, or both.
Likewise, it is against the law to enable the neglect of a child. Enabling neglect is defined as causing, procuring, or permitting a willful or malicious act of neglect upon a child.
“Permitting” the neglect of a child is defined as to authorizing or allowing a person you reasonably know or should know will or may place your child at the risk of neglect. Enabling neglect carries the same penalty as perpetuating the neglect.
If you are facing charges, you will need the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney to build a strong defense.
Confidential Consultation: Muskogee Lawyer
Get help when you need it most. Work with an experienced child neglect lawyer in Muskogee, Oklahoma to protect your freedom and to get the help you and your family need. Call us today at 918-884-7774.