Georgia man, Joel Maggi, has been arrested on child cruelty charges after his 2-month-old son was taken to a hospital with life-threatening injuries.
According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the baby was taken unresponsive to a nearby hospital in Chattanooga with “unexplained” injuries. Both the GBI and the Murray County Sheriff's Office arrested Maggi on Monday.
As of now, the agencies will continue their investigations. In today's post, my focus will be on explaining the law behind cruelty to children in Georgia.
The Georgia Code divides the criminal offense of cruelty to children into three different degrees. Each degree is defined by different conduct and have different penalties if the accused person is found guilty and convicted.
Cruelty to Children in Georgia
(1) Georgia Law defines first-degree cruelty to children as:
When a parent, guardian, or other person supervising a child under the age of 18 willfully deprives the child of necessary sustenance to the extent that the child's well being is jeopardized, or when a person maliciously causes a child under the age of 18 cruel or excessive physical or mental pain. O.C.G.A. §16-5-70 (a)-(b).
Cruelty to children in the first degree is classified as a felony. The penalty for conviction is a prison sentence between five and twenty years.
(2) Georgia Law defines second-degree cruelty to children as:
When a person with criminal negligence causes a child less than 18 years old cruel or excessive physical or mental pain. O.C.G.A. §16-5-70(c).
Cruelty to children in the second degree is also classified as a felony. The penalty for conviction is a prison sentence between five to ten years.
(3) Georgia Law defines third-degree cruelty to children as:
When either a person, who is the primary aggressor, intentionally allows a child under the age of 18 to witness the commission of a forcible felony, battery, or family violence battery; or a person, who is the primary aggressor, having knowledge that a child under the age of 18 is present and sees or hears the act, commits a forcible felony, battery, or family violence battery. O.C.G.A. §16-5-70(d).
Cruelty to children in the third degree is classified as a misdemeanor. The penalty for conviction can include a jail sentence for up to 12 months, a fine up to $1,000, or both.
As a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer, I also feel the need to point out that no matter how heinous the crime or the accusation – no one is to be deemed guilty until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
I have highlighted some of the most common Georgia Criminal Defenses to a wrongful accusation of cruelty to children charge below:
- The allegations are false.
- It was an accident.
- Parents Right to Discipline.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime in Georgia, contact our offices today. A Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney can walk you through all of your options, investigate your case, and utilize the most applicable defenses. Contact us today.