Neglect of a Dependent in Indianapolis, IN

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Get Help From a Family Lawyer Near You

Criminal charges involving children can be sensitive, or they can be blown out of proportion. Whatever your circumstances, when you are charged with neglect of a dependent, you will face life-altering consequences if convicted. You need to get legal help from an experienced Indianapolis criminal neglect defense lawyer who will help protect your family and your future.

Contact Hessler Law today to schedule a free and confidential consultation. Call us at (317) 886-8800.

Understanding Neglect of a Dependent Charge

According to Indiana Code 35-6-1-4,  you can be charged with neglect of a dependent for knowingly and intentionally:

  • Placing the dependent in a situation that endangers their life or health
  • Abandoning or cruelly confining the dependent
  • Depriving them of necessary support
  • Depriving them of education as required by law.

Whether you are legally responsible for the dependent’s care or you voluntarily assumed their care, you can be charged with a Level 6 felony for any of these actions. A Level 6 felony is the least serious felony charge, but it still carries tough penalties. The charge can increase if aggravating factors are present.

Aggravating Factors that Increase Charges

If bodily injury occurred to the dependent, a charge can increase to a Level 5 felony. If serious bodily injury occurred, it is a Level 3 felony. Serious bodily injury is defined as an injury that “creates a substantial risk of death,” causes extreme pain, or results in permanent disfigurement, unconsciousness, loss of function in a body part, or loss of a fetus.

Additional aggravating factors that will increase charges include whether the crime happened where drug dealing or drug manufacturing was taking place. Or if the defendant was deprived of food, water, and bathroom facilities or was unlawfully restrained using handcuffs or rope, for example.

Neglect Resulting in Death

The most serious charge of all is neglect, resulting in death. This is a Level 1 felony. Neglect resulting in death can be charged if the accused was at least 18 years of age and the victim was under 14 years old or was a person of any age with a physical or mental disability.

Penalties for Neglect of a Dependent in Indiana

Penalties for neglect of a dependent in Indiana include significant time behind bars and expensive fines. There are also collateral consequences that result from these felony neglect crimes.

Possible Sentences if Convicted

Individuals convicted of neglect of a dependent face the following prison time:

  • Level 6 felony: 6 months to 2 ½ years
  • Level 5 felony: 1 year to 6 years
  • Level 3 felony: 3 to 16 years
  • Level 1 felony: 20 to 40 years

In addition to imprisonment, there is a fine of up to $10,000.

Collateral Consequences

While prison time is frightening to think about, you could also lose custody of your dependent children if you are found to have committed criminal felony neglect. You may be ordered not to have any contact with them at all.

Even if you are not charged with a crime but are investigated and found to be guilty of neglect in a civil CHINS case, your children may be taken from you and placed in foster care or with a relative, and you could eventually lose custody. You may also be made to reimburse the Department of Child Services for the money spent caring for the dependent.

Other collateral consequences, depending on the situation, include court-ordered:

  • Family and rehabilitative counseling
  • Anger management classes
  • Drug and alcohol counseling

You Need a Criminal Neglect Defense Lawyer

We know that the prospect of going to prison and losing your children is terrifying and confusing. You need the help of a skilled criminal lawyer to build a strong and strategic defense against a neglect of a dependent charge. Often, in cases involving alleged crimes against children, parents or other accused parties are assumed to be guilty until proven innocent, which is not the way it should work.

Indianapolis attorney Safe Haven Law protects individuals from arrest and prosecution who anonymously give up their unwanted infants who are less than 30 days old, as long as there are no signs of intentional abuse. Infants left anonymously in this manner are taken into custody by Child Protective Services.

If you left your baby because you were unable to care for him or her and you were arrested anyway, we will build a defense for you under this law.

Religious Beliefs

If you are accused of neglect because you chose prayer over medical treatment to try and heal your dependent, we may be able to build a religious beliefs defense. You have the right to make decisions about medical care for your dependents that are in line with your legitimate religious beliefs.

False Accusations

Sometimes, accusations of neglect are simply false. One parent may accuse the other because they are trying to get custody or prevent the other parent from spending time with the child. An individual may falsely accuse another party of neglecting a dependent because they are angry at them or wish to get revenge for some kind of perceived wrong. In some cases, the person bringing accusations may honestly (although wrongly) believe that neglect is occurring.

Hessler Law will carefully investigate all the evidence and testimony of accusing parties to try and debunk the accusations.

Child Neglect in Indiana FAQ’s.

How Can A Criminal Defense Lawyer Help Me?

A criminal defense lawyer can help you by ensuring your rights and interests are protected in the justice system. Our criminal neglect defense lawyer will work to have your charges dropped or dismissed based on the effective defense that he builds for you.

Our attorney may be able to negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor. In a plea bargain, the prosecutor agrees to bring a lesser charge in return for a guilty plea. A lesser charge will result in a less severe penalty.

Who Is Considered a Dependent?

Minor children who are not legally emancipated from their parents are dependents. Adults who are unable to care for themselves because of physical or mental disabilities are also dependents.

What If I Am Accused of Neglect but Didn’t Know I Was Being Neglectful?

Under the law, your neglectful actions must be “intentional and knowledgeable.” If you were honestly ignorant that the actions you are accused of amounted to neglect, we may be able to build a defense that you did not act intentionally and, thus, are not guilty of neglect of a dependent.

Call Hessler Law Now

Being convicted of felony dependent neglect can follow you for the rest of your life. In addition to potential prison time, you will have a criminal history on your record. A criminal record will follow you when you try to get a job, find housing, and apply for loans. You may also lose your children forever and damage your relationships with family and friends.

You should not wait to get help when you are accused of felony neglect against a dependent. When you trust an astute criminal lawyer who is highly knowledgeable about Indiana law with your case, you will have the best chance of defeating the serious charges against you.

Arrange a free and confidential consultation by calling (317) 886-8800  or using our online form.