Washington, DC asked in Criminal Law, Domestic Violence and Family Law for District of Columbia

Q: If a child was pushed to direct them in the room in which they were asked to to their chores

If a child was pushed to direct them in the room in which they were asked to do their chores and they slipped and hit their face on the carpet and it caused a rug burn not meaning for any of it to happen or cause injury or harm can a parent be charged for assault on a child or possibly lose custody of their child

1 Lawyer Answer

Sean R Hanover

Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Fairfax, VA
  • Licensed in District of Columbia

A: I would recommend contacting us at your earliest convenience. This matter is serious. In response to your question -- yes, you can be charged with assault. Assault is the unwanted touching (or imminent threat of touching) of another without privilege and without consent. DC Code 22-404(a) covers the charge, which carries a maximum sentence of 180 days. In your example above, you shoved or pushed the child. That would be sufficient to show a touching. The degree of the injury makes you look bad, but in fact, does not rise to the level of an aggravated assault, so is not entirely relevant to the charge (only the sentence). It is still a simple assault. The assault occurred when you shoved. I would be concerned about a DCPS investigation regarding treatment of the child in the home, as likely this was reported as a result of a teacher or some other individual seeing the rug burns or bruise on the face. In terms of custody, it would be entirely likely to see an opposing side (i.e. an ex partner or spouse) use this type of conduct to show the child is unsafe in the home, and move to have custody changed.

Please reach out to us, or another lawyer of your choice, to get help with this quickly. Mistakes made at the initial stage (i.e. you making statements to the investigator, or police) can be a critical problem down the road. Be very careful here.

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