Child Abuse/Neglect

In this day and age, there are a few issues that bring more of a sense of emotion from people than allegations of child abuse.  In some cases an aggressive prosecution and a lack of evidence to the contrary could lead to a lengthy jail sentence.

Along with this “pro-prosecution” mentality, there is also the chance for false or exaggerated charges, mistaking light spanking for abuse, and unnecessary involvement by Child Protective Services.

With this in mind, a pending child abuse charge needs to be met and dealt with in an effective and timely manner. Considering the negative effects it could have on your social, professional and financial life, fighting the charges is of paramount importance.

Columbus Child Abuse Attorney

If you are currently under investigation for child abuse allegations in central Ohio, now is the time you need to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney to make certain that you are moving forward in this complex and difficult process in the correct manner. A good lawyer may be the difference when it comes to avoiding conviction and making certain that the future of your child continues to look bright.

Brian Joslyn of the Joslyn Law Firm is an experienced Columbus child abuse attorney who is dedicated to providing excellent client service through handling every aspect of your case personally, while being  commitment to taking every precaution necessary to ensure that your individual rights are protected.

Brian Joslyn proudly represents individuals dealing with domestic violence charges throughout central Ohio and in the surrounding counties of Franklin, Delaware, Madison, Licking, Fairfield and Pickaway. Call (614) 444-1900 to schedule a free consultation to discuss the specifics of your case.


Ohio Child Abuse Information Center


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Child Abuse and Neglect under Ohio Law

O.R.C. §2151.031 defines an “abused child” as any child who:

  • Is the victim of sexual activity;
  • Is endangered;
  • Exhibits evidence of any physical or mental injury or death, inflicted other than by accidental means; or
  • Suffers physical or mental injury that harms or threatens to harm the child’s health or welfare.

In this definition “endangered” can refer to O.R.C. §2919.22, which states that no person, who is the parent, guardian, custodian of a child under eighteen, shall create a substantial risk to the health or safety of the child, by violating a duty of care, protection or support.

O.R.C. §2919.22 goes on to say that no person shall do any of the following to a child:

  • Abuse the child;
  • Torture or cruelly abuse the child;
  • Administer corporal punishment, or other physical disciplinary measure, or physically restrain the child in a cruel manner or for a prolonged period, which punishment, discipline, or restraint is excessive under the circumstances and creates substantial risk for the child;
  • Entices, coerces, uses or allows a child to participate in material that is obscene or sexually oriented; or
  • Operating a motor vehicle under the influence with a minor in the car.

O.R.C. § 2151.03 states that a “neglected child” includes any child:

  • Who is abandoned by the child’s parents, guardian, or custodian;
  • Who lacks adequate parental care because of the faults of the parents, guardian or custodian; or
  • Whose parents, guardian, or custodian neglects the child or refuses to provide proper or necessary subsistence, education, medical or surgical care or treatment.

The penalties for child abuse are wide-ranging, but tend to be quite severe with felony classification for basically all child abuse convictions. This means that, depending on the seriousness of the charge itself, you have the potential to receive a presumptive sentence of between six months (fifth degree felony) to 10 years (first degree felony). Fines for felonies will range from $2500 (fifth degree) to $20,000 (first degree).


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Child Abuse as Domestic Violence

Violence against one’s child is considered domestic violence, regardless of whether or not the child resides with the accused offender. It is not the location of where the abuse occurs, but rather, the relationship between the accused abuser and the alleged victim.

Domestic violence laws protect children against domestic abuse; however, these laws are not intended to interfere with a parent’s right to discipline his or her child.  The law in Ohio does not prohibit corporal punishment, unless it poses a risk of death, serious injury, or substantial pain to the child.  Parents can engage in physical punishment, so long as such punishment is reasonable under the circumstances, and not so extreme as to cause death, serious injury or substantial pain.  In custody disputes, one parent may allege abuse claims against the other parent for enforcing corporal punishment.  However, the prosecution must prove that the punishment was unreasonable.


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Children's Services

Often another party will indirectly inject itself into the proceedings.  Children’s Services will often move to have custody of the children taken away from any parent that Children’s Services suspects is unfit.  This may happen immediately pursuant to what is called an ex parte order.  Ex Parte means that only one side gets its argument heard before the Court makes its decision.  While this is unfair and an affront to our system of adversarial jurisprudence (each party should have its day in court and be allowed to make the arguments it wants to make), the Courts will tolerate this because the “decision” is only a temporary one until a more formal hearing with all the parties participating can be held.  Let’s look at an example.

Husband punches wife.  He threatens the kids with physical discipline if they tell anybody about what he did.  The wife calls the police.  Husband is arrested and taken off to jail.  The incident happened in front of the kids.  Wife decides that she does not want to prosecute.  Children’s Services is concerned that the situation is going to escalate in the future and that it is dangerous for the children to be around a guy like husband unless he goes and gets treatment for his anger management and drinking problems.  Getting no help from the wife, Children’s Services files for emergency custody of the children and they are put into foster care for a week or so until grandma agrees to take them in until the matter can be sorted out.

Within a few weeks, a hearing will be held at which the husband and wife can show that the children should not be taken away from them.  If the court finds that these arguments are sound, then the judge may return the children.  If not, the judge may order the children kept where they are and the parents get visitation with them as specified times and manners.

The attorney you use to fight this portion of the case will likely not be your criminal defense attorney.  Better to have a good domestic relations attorney on standby for this sort of thing.

Let’s look at another example.  Wife assaults husband with a baseball bat while he is sleeping and she puts him in the hospital for the next three weeks before he awakes from the coma.During this time, wife will be in jail, husband will be in the hospital, and there is no one to care for the three and four year old back home.Children’s Services will be there to advocate for the children and get them into a good healthy situation.


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Joslyn Law Firm | Franklin County Child Abuse Lawyer

An arrest for child abuse is something that no parent or guardian wants to deal with. Adding this to the “pro-prosecution” mentality of the state, which is always looking out for the welfare of its dependent citizens, for better or worse, and you have a difficult situation that is not easily solved. A defense attorney can help you pursue favorable outcomes including case dismissals and not guilty verdicts, which allow you to continue your life with a clear record.

One of the most important things to do in this stressful time is to make certain that you are well represented by a qualified Ohio child abuse lawyer. As an aggressive and trial-proven criminal defense attorney, Brian Joslyn is well positioned to provide effective legal counsel throughout the entire process. If you would like the advice and representation of a qualified and dedicated attorney, call the Joslyn Law Firm at (614) 444-1900 or send an online message to schedule a free consultation.

Brian Joslyn proudly represents individuals dealing with alleged criminal charges in central Ohio, including but not limited to Columbus, Sunbury, Dublin, Reynoldsburg, Worthington, Groveport, Plain City, Heath, Granville, Baltimore, Bremen, South Bloomfield, New Holland and Commercial Point.


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