Malicious punishment of a child is defined as the intentional use of unreasonable force by a child’s parent or caretaker or punishment that is considered cruel or excessive. At Brandt Criminal Defense, we have defended clients charged with malicious punishment in Minneapolis, MN, Saint Paul, MN, Anoka, MN, Hopkins, MN, and surrounding communities.
Malicious punishment charges may either be a gross misdemeanor or felony, depending upon the circumstances. In some cases, charges are elevated to a felony, due to the harm or injuries sustained by the child, the age of the child, or any prior convictions of the defendant.
The charges and potential penalties of being convicted of malicious punishment include:
- Gross Misdemeanor – Up to 1 year in jail and/or a fine of $3,000 for bodily harm that is not substantial. However, if the defendant has prior convictions, this can be elevated to a felony with a punishment of 5 years and/or a fine of $10,000.
- Felony with a penalty of 5 years and/or a $10,000 fine, if there is substantial bodily harm or a child under the age of 4 has sustained bodily harm to the head, neck oreyes, or has multiple bruises.
- Felony with a penalty of 10 years and/or a fine of $20,000 if the child sustains great bodily harm.
These are serious charges that carry serious consequences if convicted. If you’ve been charged with malicious punishment of a child, you need an experienced child abuse lawyer to defend your rights. At Brandt Criminal Defense, we can you put together a plan to help you find the best path forward. We provide free consultations to determine if we are the right criminal attorney for you. Please contact our office at 763-421-6366, if you need a child abuse lawyer in Minneapolis, MN, Saint Paul, MN, Anoka, MN, or Hopkins, MN.
Call 763-421-6366 for a free consultation today.
Malicious Punishment of a Child Information & Guides
All penalties listed below are the maximum penalty that can be imposed under Minnesota Law unless otherwise specified.
The penalties for malicious punishment depend on the age of the child and the severity of the harm.
- Gross Misdemeanor: If the punishment results in less than substantial bodily harm – 1 year in prison and/or a $3,000 fine.
- Child Under age Four and bodily harm to head, eyes, neck or multiple bruises: Felony – 5 years and/or a $10,000 fine.
- Great Bodily Harm Felony – 10 years and/or a $20,000 fine.
Malicious Punishment of Child (Minn. Stat. § 609.377)
A parent, legal guardian, or caretaker who, by an intentional act or a series of intentional acts with respect to a child, evidences unreasonable force or cruel discipline that is excessive under the circumstances is guilty of malicious punishment of a child.
The following are common terms used in charges involving the malicious punishment of a child.
Substantial bodily harm: bodily injury which involves a temporary but substantial disfigurement, or which causes a temporary but substantial loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ, or which causes a fracture of any bodily member.
Great bodily harm: bodily injury which creates a high probability of death, or which causes serious permanent disfigurement, or which causes a permanent or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ or other serious bodily harm.
What is reasonable under the circumstances?
Reasonableness is something that would be a fact issue and decided by a jury.
Anytime you are charged with malicious punishment of a child, you should do two things:
1. Contact a criminal defense attorney; and,
2. Do NOT talk to the cops.
Only in extremely rare circumstances do we recommend communicating with the cops and any decision to do so should be made with the advice of counsel and with an attorney present.
Please also keep in mind that your driver’s license will likely be revoked so it is important to contact an attorney experienced in malicious punishment of a child charges to discuss your options going forward.