The state of Wisconsin takes child abuse and neglect charges very seriously, and it is incredibly important that you contact an experienced lawyer if you’re accused of either of these things.

Abuse and neglect are two separate crimes, and the vital difference between them is intent.

Abuse vs. Neglect: The Difference is Intent

Abuse is defined as an act or a failure to act that results in serious physical or emotional harm. It could result in death, as well. Sexual abuse and exploitation of a minor, as well as imminent risk of serious harm (even if no injury or emotional damage results) also falls under this legal definition.

Neglect refers to the failure to properly feed, clothe or protect a child. The intent isn’t to cause harm, although neglect often puts the child in danger.

What if You Are Charged with Child Abuse in Wisconsin?

If you’re arrested and accused of abusing a child, make sure you use your right to remain silent. In most cases, even if you’re completely innocent of the charges, it’s best to wait for your attorney before you answer any questions.

Allegations of child abuse can result in the loss of your parental rights, imprisonment and more, so it’s very important that you have someone to help you through the entire process.

What if You Are Charged with Child Neglect in Wisconsin?

Depending on the circumstances, it may be possible to have child abuse charges reduced to child neglect charges. Again, though, it’s very important that you talk to your lawyer about your case and don’t answer any questions without your lawyer present.

Your Rights Are Important, Too

Wisconsin’s laws on child abuse and neglect are in place to protect kids, which is very important in any civilized society. However, not all allegations are true—and even if they are true, you risk having your constitutional rights violated by police who are trying to get to the bottom of your case (or by anyone else in the system).

Your Milwaukee child abuse lawyer will be able to protect your rights, from questioning to court proceedings, as well as make sure that you are treated fairly during the entire process.