Massachusetts Child Abandonment Defense Attorneys
Abandoning a child under 10 years old can land you in a lot of trouble in Massachusetts. A conviction can lead to two years in jail. If the child dies as a result of that abandonment, you face a significantly harsher maximum penalty of five years in state prison.
The term abandonment generally means that the child was “left without any provision for support, and without any person responsible to maintain care, custody and control because the whereabouts of the person responsible is unknown and reasonable efforts to locate such person have been unsuccessful. A brief and temporary absence from the home, without the intent to abandon the child, shall not constitute abandonment.” Courts have specifically found that in order to be convicted, the absence must be more than brief and temporary.
There is no hard and fast rule in terms of a time limit that would constitute abandonment. A determination is made on a case-by-case basis and therefore, fighting this charge will largely depend on the facts surrounding your incident.
However, the Massachusetts Appeals court has specifically ruled that leaving your child in a vehicle while using a rest stop is not a crime. Likewise with a parent leaving a child unattended in a car while running into the post office: not recommended, but legal.
If you’re facing charges of child abandonment in Massachusetts, contact our experienced criminal defense attorneys today at (781) 797-0555 for a free phone consultation.
Mass. General Laws, Chapter 119, Section 39