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What to Expect If Accused of Child Abuse

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Child Abuse in Arizona

Being falsely accused of child abuse is a serious issue for many individuals in the state of Arizona. The repercussions of being accused of child abuse are serious, and cases will often end up with criminal charges filed against you. The consequences of being charged with child abuse extend not only into your personal life, but they can also reach into your employment and your reputation within the community. If you have been accused of child abuse, below is an overview of Arizona’s child abuse laws, the burden of proof, and how you can absolve yourself from the unfair charges.

Arizona Child Abuse Laws

Like all states, Arizona takes the reporting of child abuse very seriously. Under A.R.S. 13-3620, a person who “reasonably believes” that a minor is the victim of child abuse has a duty to immediately report it to a peace officer or to the Department of Child Safety. If the officer receives a report of child abuse, then he or she must refer it to the Department of Child Safety. Once the department has received a complaint, an investigation regarding the claim is conducted. If the claim is found to be valid, charges will likely be brought against you. However, being charged with child abuse does not mean that you are culpable. The next step is to obtain a defense attorney.

Legal Counsel

When accused of child abuse, it is important that you do not speak to police officers alone. The best approach is to seek an attorney who can represent you and your interests. A defense attorney will be able to guide you through the process and will also be able to make sure that you do not admit culpability. Legally, you are presumed to be innocent until proven guilty. To be proven guilty, the prosecution has the burden of proving that you are guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Burden of Proof

At the onset of a child abuse case, the information gathered by the Department of Child Safety is known as an “indicated finding.” This finding is a compilation of information surrounding its investigation prior to the child abuse charges. At this point, the burden of proof is quite low. The authorities then have the responsibility of providing more evidence to prove your culpability. Your defense attorney will be able to gather discoverable evidence regarding the case. By obtaining relevant records, your defense attorney can help ensure you aren’t wrongly charged with a crime you did not commit.


Being charged with child abuse is an extremely serious situation that is an important cause of concern. If you have been charged with child abuse in the Flagstaff, Arizona, area, it is imperative that you seek legal counsel. Gonzales & Poirier serves Flagstaff and the northern Arizona areas in cases that deal with family law, criminal law representation, and more. With their services, you can get the justice you deserve so your life can get back on track.