As parents, your job is to raise happy, healthy children. Your job is also to protect them from doing things that are against their own best interest, and from coming to harm.
Children suffer the consequences of accidents every day, and some have a very tragic ending. If your child is injured in your care, or if the worst comes to pass and your child dies, the police and social services may become involved. Their job is to determine if your child was the victim of murder or homicide, and their presence can and will add undue stress.
There is no shortage of unintentional child deaths
The unintentional death of a child can lead to serious repercussions for a parent or parents:
- The father of a six-year-old boy was charged with, and pled guilty to, a third degree felony after his son found his grandmother’s loaded gun in a cabinet and accidentally shot and killed himself. The grandmother who left the gun unsecured was never charged.
- A father was convicted of murder because he left his 22-month-old son in a hot car, and the child succumbed to the heat. Prosecutors claimed the father intentionally left his son in the car in an attempt to “rid himself of parental responsibility.”
- An employee of Embassy Suites in Columbia just recently lost her four-year-old child who fell over the seventh floor balcony to her death. State law mandates an investigation into these horrific incidents.
The degree of fault in each of these cases, and in cases like these, can vary: there is a significant difference between the child who gets hold of a loaded weapon in a relative’s home and a father who leaves his son in a hot car for eight hours. How the accused’s behavior contributes to the demise of the child can be the difference between going free with your reputation restored, or going to prison for infanticide.
For example, say a father is driving his son to daycare and the vehicle is hit by a speeding truck. The driver’s actions and behaviors did not contribute to the death of the child, and the police report (and an attorney) will show how this was just a tragic accident. However, a father who is drunk when he gets behind the wheel, falls asleep, and plows into a truck, leading to the death of the child in the backseat, can be held accountable for the unintentional death of the child because his actions and behaviors are directly linked to the fatal crash.
Why you need an attorney if you are involved in an accidental or unintentional death
If your child dies while in your care – whether you were behaving in a negligent way or not – it is almost guaranteed that you will be placed under a cloud of suspicion. The natural urge to explain yourself over and over again may actually end up contributing to those suspicions and harm your case in the long run. It is critical that you hire an attorney as soon as possible to ensure that you are protected under the law. Aside from the potential prison time and fines, you could face other losses such as:
- The removal of other children from your home by DSS.
- Loss of custody or visitation rights.
- Loss of employment opportunities, even if you have not been convicted of a crime.
- Loss of certain rights, including the right to vote, carry a firearm, or apply for government benefits.
- Loss of professional license and/or security clearances.
- Loss of educational opportunities.
- Loss of reputation.
No parent should talk with any official agency, including law enforcement, without a criminal defense attorney there to protect you if your child has succumbed to an accidental or unintentional death. You should be presumed innocent, but investigations related to these tragedies can take a quick turn toward viewing you as a suspect.
If your child has been seriously injured or died as a result of a horrific accident that is under investigation in York, Lancaster, or Chester County, don’t let yourself become the target of criminal charges. You need an aggressive homicide defense attorney from Holland Law LLC. Please call 803-219-2630 or fill out the contact form to schedule a consultation. We maintain offices in Fort Mill and Rock Hill.
Tom Holland previously served as the General Counsel for the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office, the City Solicitor for the City of Lancaster, and as a Special Assistant United States Attorney for the Sixth Circuit Solicitor’s Office. He is a single father, and through his own divorce gained valuable insight he now uses to provide Fort Mill and Rock Hill, SC families with the best representation. Learn more about Tom Holland.