Unlawful Conduct Toward a Child in Lexington, SC
One of the most common criminal charges to see reported by police agencies to the news media is Unlawful Conduct Toward a Child. Frequently, you will see those who have been charged with this crime prominently featured on television, Internet or print news. Bonds in these cases can be set unreasonably high or even denied, and these are frequently aggressively prosecuted even against defendants regardless of their prior criminal record.
This offense is one of South Carolina's main laws dealing with physical child abuse or neglect. The statute is contained in S.C. Code 63-5-70. This is a felony, and can carry a sentence of up to ten years imprisonment in the South Carolina Department of Corrections. In order to be convicted, the State must prove several things. First, they must prove that the defendant is either a parent, legal guardian or otherwise legally responsible for the child's welfare. Not everyone who comes into contact with a child meets this requirement. Next the State must prove one of the following:
- An unreasonable risk to the child's life, physical or mental health or safety;
- Unlawful and malicious (or intentional) bodily harm to the child that was so substantial it endangered the child's life or health;
- Intentionally abandoned the child.
Unless the State can prove a legal relationship between the defendant and the child, and some type of serious conduct towards the child, the defendant should be found not-guilty of his offense. For this reason, it is recommended that you have an experienced Lexington criminal lawyer by your side.
Types of Defenses
There are two main defense strategies that be explored for anyone facing this charge. Many times we see that someone who has been arrested for Unlawful Conduct doesn't have a legal relationship to justify the charge. Perhaps they were only a boyfriend or girlfriend or the child's parent, or just a guest in the child's home. Other issues can arise when the alleged conduct doesn't rise to the level of actually endangering the child's life or health. When appropriate these defense strategies can result in either a charge being reduced, dismissed or won at trial.
Another strategy, which can be used either alone or in conjunction with challenging the facts of the arrest, involves the use of mitigation to demonstrate to the prosecution or Court why someone doesn't deserve to be prosecuted or go to prison for this charge. By completing a series of counseling programs, parenting classes, domestic abuse programs or psychological services it may be possible to obtain a second chance for a defendant, even when the evidence at first seems stacked against them.
Contact a Lexington Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been charged with Unlawful Conduct Toward a Child, criminal neglect, or any other crime involving the physical or sexual abuse of a child, you should not try to face that situation alone. The Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC, represents clients in Lexington, Columbia and elsewhere throughout South Carolina. We challenge unfair or false arrests and work towards a deserved second chance. To
schedule your no cost and confidential consultation with a Lexington criminal defense attorney at our firm, please contact our office today.