Dependency and Neglect Defense Attorney in Indiana

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The Indiana legislature has enacted harsh penalties for domestic violence offenses, making the need for an accomplished Indianapolis dependency and neglect attorney that much greater if you are facing charges. A charge brought under one of these statutes is a serious matter that may result in lengthy jail terms and substantial fines if it results in a conviction. This is especially true when the offense involves children. According to the Child Welfare League of America, Indiana had 116,626 total referrals for child abuse and neglect in 2011, of which 61,473 were referred for investigation. In that same year, 17,930 children were victims or abuse of neglect, which is the equivalent of a rate of 11.2 per 1,000 children. 87.1% of these children were considered neglected. Sadly, in 2011 alone, 34 children in the state died as a result of abuse or neglect.

If you have been charged with neglect of a dependent in the Indianapolis or Central Indiana area, you should seek the assistance of an experienced Indianapolis criminal attorney. The potential consequences of a conviction are severe, and you need an effective advocate by your side. The attorneys at Eskew Law have extensive experience in domestic violence charges, including neglect of a dependent, and can assist you in determining your next steps.

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Neglect of a Dependent

Under Ind. Code § 35-46-1, a dependent is defined as an unemancipated person who is under 18 years of age or a person of any age who has a mental or physical disability. A person commits the offense of neglect of a dependent if that person has care of a dependent assumed voluntarily or through a legal obligation and knowingly or intentionally:

  • Places the dependent in a situation that endangers the dependent’s life or health;
  • Abandons or cruelly confines the dependent;
  • Deprives the dependent of necessary support; or
  • Deprives the dependent of education as required by law.

Normally, this offense is considered a Level 6 felony that, under Ind. Code § 35-50-2-7, carries a mandatory potential prison term of between six months and two and a half years and a fine not exceeding $10,000. If you have any questions regarding what defines neglect of a dependent, contact a knowledgeable Indianapolis dependency and neglect attorney who has experience dealing with these specific cases.

Aggravating Factors

There are certain circumstances where neglect of a dependent is considered a more serious offense under Ind. Code § 35-46-1-4. These include the following:

  • If the offense results in bodily injury or is committed in a location where a person is dealing in cocaine or narcotic drugs, manufacturing methamphetamines, or is the result of dealing with the above-referenced drugs, it is considered a Level 5 felony. Level 5 felonies are punishable, under Ind. Code § 35-50-2-6, with between one and six years in prison and a fine not exceeding $10,000. If may also be considered a Level 5 felony if it consists of cruel confinement or abandonment that:
    • Deprives the dependent of necessary food, water, or sanitary facilities;
    • Consists of confinement in an area not intended for human habitation; or
    • Involves the unlawful use of handcuffs, a rope, a cord, tape, or a similar device to physically restrain a dependent
  • If the offense results in serious bodily injury, it is considered a Level 3 felony punishable by a prison term of between six and 20 years and a fine not exceeding $10,000, under Ind. Code § 35-50-2-5.
  • If someone who is at least 28 years old commits the offense, which results in the death of a dependent that is less than 14 years old, it is considered a Level 1 felony. These are the most serious felonies and, under Ind. Code § 35-20-2-4, are punishable by between 20 and 40 years in prison and a fine not exceeding $10,000.

Call an Indianapolis Dependency and Neglect Attorney Today

Contact Chris Eskew at Eskew Law if you are facing a charge of neglect of a dependent. Our firm will review the circumstances of your case and provide advice on the best defense strategy possible. To speak with an Indianapolis dependency and neglect lawyer, you may call us at (317) 974-0177 or contact us online.

Next Steps

1. Consultation Meet with the attorney to discuss your legal issue. This initial meeting helps you understand their expertise and decide if they're the right fit.
2. Agreement Review and sign a retainer agreement. This contract outlines the services, fees, and other essential terms.
3. Documents Gather and provide all relevant documents related to your case. This step helps your attorney build your case efficiently.
4. Communication Set expectations for how and when you'll communicate with your attorney. Clear communication ensures that you stay informed throughout the process.

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