In June of 2014, the Washington State's Children's Administration, a division of the Department of Social and Health Services sent a letter to the Indian tribes in Washington state stating that the service of criminal background checks will no longer effective as of July 2014. The state agency had been providing the service for years. Now, the Washington tribes and the country's largest group representing Native Americans are urging for state and federal help in getting background checks when a tribe needs to place a child with a foster parent in an emergency situation. The state agency claims that Washington law only allows the state social and health services department access to the criminal database. While tribal police are free to run their own background checks, they do not have access to the database used by state agencies.
Tribal officials say the state's actions compromise child safety. This concern is obviously well placed. The system should set up protocols to protect our most vulnerable populations from potentially dangerous situations and the tribes should not be cut off from access. However, this is also a good time to discuss the caveat that false accusations of child abuse are more common than you think, and allegations can grow from suspicion alone.
Child Abuse is a Felony
Allegations of child abuse are serious. They can lead to a criminal record, termination of parental rights, a ruined reputation, and denial of access to your children. Accusations can stem from a child's accidental fall, or a vengeful ex.
The Washington Code addresses child abuse in the fulcrum of assault. You may be charged with either “assault of a child in the first degree” or “assault of a child in the second degree.” One commits 1st degree child assault if s/he:
- Intentionally assaults the child and either:
(i) Recklessly inflicts great bodily harm; or
(i) Causes substantial bodily harm and if the person has engaged in a pattern of hurting the child. See RCW 9A.36.120.
One commits 2nd degree child assault if s/he:
- “Intentionally assaults the child and causes bodily harm that is greater than transient physical pain or minor temporary mark” and if the person has engaged in a pattern of hurting the child. See RCW 9A.36.140.
It is a Class B felony punishable by up to 10 years in jail and a fine of $20,000. See § RCW 9A.20.021.
"Let My Extensive Experience as a Former Prosecutor Work For You."
As a former prosecutor, criminal defense attorney Steve Karimi knows how police departments, social services, and law officials operate, and he understands the protocols that agencies must abide by every time they interact with a suspect. Mr. Karimi will utilize this knowledge and come up with the best defense possible for your specific situation. He handles all misdemeanor and felony cases. If you have been arrested or charged with assault or felony assault, do not hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Steve Karimi todayto schedule a free initial consultation.