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Penalties for Child Abuse Convictions in Minnesota Domestic Abuse

Penalties for Child Abuse Convictions in Minnesota

2 years ago by Brian
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Minnesota law takes all instances of domestic abuse very seriously, but even more so when the alleged victim is a minor. Child abuse can involve neglect, abandonment, deprivation, endangerment, unreasonable methods of discipline, and more. 

Accusations of any type of child abuse mean that you face severe penalties and long-term consequences that can impact your life in many ways. Reach out to a criminal defense lawyer who handles domestic abuse cases right away if you have been arrested on child abuse charges. 

Charges for Child Abuse

There are two primary charges for child abuse in Minnesota:


  1. Child neglect – This charge applies when a parent, caretaker, or legal guardian who is able to provide for a child willfully neglects to provide the shelter, food, health care, clothing, or supervision that a child needs based on their age, and the neglect causes harm or is likely to cause harm to the child. This charge can also apply when a parent, caretaker, or guardian allows someone else to physically or sexually abuse a child.
  2. Child endangerment – You might face this charge as a parent, caretaker, or guardian accused of putting a child’s health or safety in danger by recklessly or intentionally allowing or causing a child to be in a situation that will likely cause substantial or fatal harm. This charge also applies when a parent, caretaker, or guardian has a child present during the manufacture of controlled substances.

These charges are generally gross misdemeanors, and a conviction would mean up to one year in jail and $3,000 in fines. However, if the prosecutor alleges that the child suffered substantial physical, mental, or emotional harm as a result of the neglect or endangerment, the charge escalates to a felony, and a convicted offender can face up to five years of imprisonment and $10,000 in fines. 

There are separate charges if someone physically assaults a child, engages in malicious punishment of a child, or engages in sexual abuse of a child. These charges can all be felony offenses under certain circumstances. 

Potential Defenses

Allegations of child abuse often involve one party’s word against yours or circumstantial evidence. As a result, there are often legal defenses that can be raised. For example, if a child has accused you of abuse directly, it may be possible to cast doubt on the child’s version of events by showing that he or she has a reason to lie. In the case of circumstantial evidence, your attorney may be able to provide an alternative explanation for the alleged evidence of abuse. 


An attorney familiar with defending against allegations of child abuse can evaluate the facts of your case and determine whether any defenses apply. If there are no defenses to raise, your lawyer may attempt to negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor handling your case.

Seek Help from a Woodbury, MN Domestic Abuse Lawyer

If you have been accused of child abuse, it’s critical that you retain an attorney right away. At JS Defense, PA, we understand how terrifying criminal charges related to child abuse can be, and we’re committed to resolving every case we handle as favorably as possible. Contact us today for help.  Call now: 651-362-9426.


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This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by attorney Justin M. Schiks who has more than 20 years of legal experience as a personal injury attorney.

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