Child Abuse Defense Attorney, Matthew Ruff
Anyone facing accusations of the abuse of a child knows how alone and terrified you feel. All allegations of child abuse are investigated in California by the Department of Family and Childrens Services (DCFS). Unlike most crimes, there is almost a presumption of guilt in the minds of governmental workers when it comes to accusations of abuse of children. This mindset lends itself to a rush to judgment by County officials and brings out those with ulterior motives. Indeed, the crime of child abuse is one of the most emotionally charged offenses within the California Judicial System. Typically, the police become involved in the investigation of these cases when a report is made regarding suspected physical injury, the danger of injury or the allegation of emotional or psychological abuse. The crime of child abuse is found in the statute codified as Penal Code 273.
The various types of conduct that can result in a Penal Code section 273 child endangerment charge are:
- Willfully or unlawfully causing or allowing a child to suffer unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering (Willful harm to a child)
- Willfully allowing a child in one's custody to have his/her person or physical health injured (Willful injury to a child)
- Willfully permitting a child in one's custody to have his/her health or safety endangered (endangering person or health of a child)
The criminal charge of child abuse can be either a felony or a misdemeanor. Whether the case is that of a felony, which carries potential prison time, or the less serious misdemeanor is often determined by the extent of any injury or threat of potential injury to the child.
Over the course of the last 15 years I have personally defended hundreds of child abuse, neglect and endangerment cases in both Los Angeles and Kern County, as well as other Southern California communities. The cases are usually prosecuted by a special team of district attorneys who have experience in the nature of the offense. Because of my experience as a criminal defense lawyer, I know the issues and defenses that work and those that do not. In all of the child abuse cases I have handled I have always been able to keep my clients out of jail. I firmly believe that avoiding incarceration, though extremely important, is not the only concern. I believe that it is crucial to try and avoid a conviction that will often stay with the individual for life. I strive to work out a dismissal or some type of diversion that keeps the criminal conviction of child abuse off a person's permanent record.
Call Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Matthew J. Ruff today at 310-527-4100 for a free no cost case evaluation.
Some recent examples of actual child abuse case results are as follows:
Matthew Ruff was hired by a young woman accused of causing injury to her fiance's son. The alleged abuse was bruising on the child. The child told his teacher that the woman had injured him at home the day before. The child was brought to the school office and the police were called out and interviewed the youngster. Based on statements made by the child and the observations of bruises, the investigator submitted the case to the district attorney. A warrant was issued in the amount of $100,000 for the young woman's arrest. Mr. Ruff was able to get into Court and have the warrant recalled and the client released on her own recognizance. The case was set for a settlement conference and attorney Matthew Ruff convinced the prosecutor and judge that the allegations were overblown. In November of 2008 he negotiated a deferred entry of judgment which will result in a dismissal of the charges and allowed the client to avoid having any record of the case made open to the public.
In another case Mr. Ruff was referred a matter from another local criminal defense attorney in which the client was accused of child abuse on her 11 year old daughter. The allegations were that she maintained a home with deplorable living conditions that included allegations of extremely dirty household, allowing her adult son to use drugs and alcohol around her child and allowing the child to remain very sick without adequate medical care. The lawyer took the case to Court and refused to accept a plea bargain which would result in a criminal conviction on the client's record and cause possible deportation. He fought the district attorney for a dismissal upon completion of parenting classes in December of 2008.
In yet another case, Mr. Ruff represented a woman who left her two children in a car in a parking lot while she shopped. The Santa Clarita District Attorney filed the case as a felony. The lawyer went to Court and got the client released on her own recognizance and later worked out a misdemeanor sentence with no jail time.
A common type of child endangerment is when a parent is arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs with a minor in the car. These types of allegatiions hinge on the provability of the underlying DUI charge and it is here where attorney Matthew Ruff has considerable experience. In one recent case, Matthew was hired to defend a parent charged with DWI and child abuse(endangerment) in Santa Clarita California. The parent had prescription drugs in his system, Xanax, and had crashed his car into a center median. Attorney Matthew Ruff refused to allow the parent to plead guilty and took the case to trial. The majority of the jurors sided with Mr. Ruff and the District Attorney dismissed all charges on March 26, 2010.
Because of the serious nature of child abuse accusations, it is very important to consult with a lawyer knowledgeable with the criminal and non-criminal aspects of the case such as the possible loss of parental rights when DCFS workers get involved. My law firm has the skills and resources to fight the local and state government trying to intervene and interfere with parents raising their children in the way they see fit. Call attorney Matthew Ruff to discuss your Los Angeles or Kern County Child Abuse case today at 310-527-4100.
Many things go through the head of someone facing criminal charges in California. The most important thing to remember is that good advice by an experienced lawyer can be perhaps the biggest asset a person can have. False and misleading information is rampant throughout the internet, do not follow the wrong path when faced with potentially life changing accusations of criminal conduct. The Law Offices of Matthew Ruff has been vindicating the wrongfully accused for well over a decade. Whether you are looking for a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer or a Kern County Criminal Defense Attorney, we can help to get you through the most difficult time in your life.