Fourth Degree Child Abuse Charges in Hackensack, New Jersey
Jersey City NJ DCP&P Defense Lawyers
The Division of Child Protection and Permanency (“DCP&P”), formerly known as the Division of Youth and Family Services (“DYFS”) is not the only agency in New Jersey that may investigate allegations of child abuse or neglect. In fact, in certain types of cases that rise to a level of criminal child abuse, the police may also investigate and issue criminal charges of fourth-degree child abuse, which will then be handled by the County Prosecutor and potentially result in an indictment. There is an extremely important distinction between DCP&P and the police: DCP&P cannot file criminal charges but only inform the police or County Prosecutor when DCP&P responds to a referral of abuse or neglect that may indicate the alleged perpetrator also committed a crime. The bottom line is that if DCP&P knocks on your door, the police may not be too far behind. If you are accused of child abuse, you should contact an experienced DCP&P attorney who is also familiar with the New Jersey criminal law to develop a comprehensive defense strategy. The Hackensack NJ DCP&P defense lawyers at the Tormey Law Firm also understand the nuances of the criminal charge of fourth-degree child abuse and they are ready to help you with your child abuse or neglect case.
Under New Jersey’s criminal child abuse laws, any parent, guardian, or person having the care, custody or control of any child, who shall abuse, abandon, be cruel to or neglectful of any child shall be deemed to be guilty of a crime of the fourth degree. N.J.S.A. 9:6-3. The criminal child abuse statute sets forth that “abuse of a child shall consist in any of the following acts: (a) disposing of the custody of a child contrary to law; (b) employing or permitting a child to be employed in any vocation or employment injurious to its health or dangerous to its life or limb, or contrary to the laws of this State; (c) employing or permitting a child to be employed in any occupation, employment or vocation dangerous to the morals of such child; (d) the habitual use by the parent or by a person having the custody and control of the child, in the hearing of such child, or profane, indecent or obscene language; (e) the performing of any indecent, immoral or unlawful act or deed, in the presence of the child, that may tend to debauch or endanger or degrade the morals of the child; (f) permitting or allowing any other person to perform an indecent, immoral or unlawful act in the presence of the child that may tend to debauch or endanger the morals of such child; (g) using excessive physical restraint on the child under circumstances which do not indicate that the child’s behavior is harmful to himself, others or property; or (h) in an institution, as defined in N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.21, willfully isolating the child from ordinary social contact under circumstances which indicate emotional or social deprivation.” N.J.S.A. 9:6-1.
If you are charged with a fourth degree crime in New Jersey, this is a felony level offense which must be handled in the Superior Court in the county in which you are charged. If convicted, this would lead to a permanent felony charge on your record, up to a $10,000 fine, possible probation, and up to eighteen (18) months in prison. As a result, it is imperative that you contact an experienced DCP&P and criminal defense attorney to handle these types of cases for you. Our Morristown NJ DYFS lawyers are available now to assist you at 201-556-1571.