If you’ve been charged with causing injury to a child by omission in Houston, it’s important to take immediate action to protect your rights. Houston family violence defense attorney Lisa Shapiro Strauss is here to defend you. Injury to a child by omission is a felony in Texas; if found guilty, you could face stiff fines and/or up to life in prison.
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What is Injury to a Child by Omission in Texas?
Under Section 22.04 of the Texas Penal Code, a person commits an offense if they “intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence, by act or intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly by omission” cause bodily injury, serious bodily injury, or serious mental deficiency, impairment, or injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled person. Charges can range from state jail to felony of the first degree if the offense was committed “intentionally or knowingly.”
Who gets charged with failure to protect a child through omission in Texas? In a lot of instances, mothers are charged with this offense. Most of these charges are related to incidents of domestic violence.
Sadly, many of the women charged with this offense are victims of violence themselves. One woman in Texas was sentenced to 40 years for failure to protect her child. She was also a victim of the same man that injured her child.
The Affirmative Defense in Texas
When it comes to defending a mother against charges of failure to protect through omission, denying the charges may not be the best tactic. Nor should they just plead guilty. In situations like this, an affirmative defense tactic may be the best option to avoid fines and jail time. In an affirmative defense, a defendant admits that they are guilty of committing the crime they’ve been charged with.
How is this a good legal tactic? In an affirmative defense, the defendant admits guilt but provides evidence that they were not responsible for committing the crime due to extenuating circumstances. The defendant asks the court to consider these circumstances when determining punishment.
Examples of Affirmative Defense Tactics in Texas
Examples of an affirmative defense in Texas can include:
- Insanity – The defendant didn’t know what they were doing due to a mental disorder.
- Mistake of Fact – The crime was committed by mistake.
- Mistake of Law – The defendant didn’t know their actions were illegal.
- Intoxication – The defendant was intoxicated at the time they were charged.
- Duress – The defendant was under threat of death or serious bodily injury.
- Entrapment – Law enforcement use persuasion or other means to cause the defendant to commit an offense. Or
- Age – The defendant is aged 15 years or younger.
(These examples have been taken from Title 2, Section 8 of the Texas Penal Code, “General Defenses to Criminal Responsibility.”)
There are several ways an affirmative defense could be used in a trial for failure to protect a child by omission. The defendant could claim that they were under duress at the time they were charged. Insanity or intoxication could be used as an affirmative defense as well.
Frequently Asked Questions About Domestic Violence Charges
The only way to have a domestic violence charge removed from your record in Texas is to have it expunged or sealed by the court.
If you are convicted of domestic violence in Texas, you could face up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000 for a misdemeanor and up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 for a felony.
A civil court issues a restraining order, which requires the accused to stay away from the victim. A criminal court issues a protective order, which orders the defendant to cease all family violence.
Get Help Protecting Your Rights Against Injury to a Child by Omission Charges in Houston
Lisa Shapiro Strauss is a former county DA turned Houston criminal defense attorney. She understands that women charged with failure to protect a child through omission are often victims themselves. In many situations, these women could not have prevented their children from being harmed even if they had tried.
Lisa is dedicated to protecting the rights of her clients. She has helped many clients who have been charged with domestic abuse-related offenses. Her representation often results in acquittal or reduced charges for her clients.
If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor or felony offense in Texas, the sooner you get experienced legal representation the better. Contact the law offices of Lisa Shapiro Strauss to schedule a free, initial consultation to discuss your case and possible defense strategies. Lisa serves clients all over Houston and Harris County, including Bellaire, Meyerland, the Galleria, Sharpstown, Alief, West University Place, Memorial, and the Medical Center.