What is the Definition of Neglect?

Texas outlines a specific definition of neglect, and our Texas criminal defense lawyer explains what they are.

Child neglect is taken very seriously in the state of Texas. Many people are surprised when they are charged with this crime because actions that were not illegal decades ago now are. For example, 30 years ago, it was not uncommon for parents to leave a child home alone. While this can still be done today, the child now has to be of a certain age, or it could result in criminal charges. Below, our Texas criminal defense lawyer outlines the different definitions of neglect according to the law.

Defining Child Neglect

The law in Texas defines child neglect as the failure of a parent or guardian to provide for their child’s needs. According to the state, a child’s needs include:

  • Food
  • Water
  • Shelter
  • Clothing
  • Medical care
  • Proper supervision

In the event that a parent cannot meet the above needs for a child, they are required by law to make other arrangements for someone else to. When a parent knowingly endangers their child, it is also considered neglect.

Signs of Child Neglect

The state also outlines many different signs of child neglect. These are as follows:

  • Torn or dirty clothing
  • Malnourishment
  • A child must stay at home alone for long periods of time
  • Several absences from school with no explanation
  • A lack of personal hygiene
  • The child requires an excessive amount of medical or dental care

State law requires anyone who suspects child neglect or abuse to report it to the authorities, so it is important everyone understands the signs. TheTexas Department of Family and Protective Services no longer accepts anonymous reports of neglect, but other state and federal agencies do.

Child Abandonment and Child Endangerment

There are times when neglect can lead to more serious charges of child abandonment or child endangerment. Abandonment occurs when a child under the age of 15 years old is left without access to necessary and reasonable care. Other actions that could result in criminal charges include:

  • Carrying a child in a vehicle without using their seatbelt
  • Being charged with a DWI with a minor passenger
  • Leaving a child unattended in a vehicle for five minutes or longer
  • Placing a child in any situation where they are likely to be harmed
  • Providing children with access to unsecured firearms
  • Consuming an illegal substance in the presence of a child

Being charged with child abandonment, child endangerment, or neglect is a very serious matter. A Texas criminal defense lawyer can advise on the best strategy to use in your case.

Call Our Criminal Defense Lawyer in Texas for Help with Your Charges

If you have been charged with harming your child, you need strong legal counsel. At Hoelscher Gebbia Cepeda, PLLC, our Texas criminal defense lawyer can provide it so your family stays together, and your future is protected. Call us now at (210) 222-9132 or fill out our online form to request a consultation and to learn more.

David Rowlett

David Rowlett