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An Explination of Child Abuse Charges in Oklahoma Criminal Law by Tulsa Criminal Defense Lawyer Kevin Adams

Oklahoma's Child Abuse statute can be founs at Title 21 Oklahoma Statute Section 843.5 paragraph A and reads as follows:

Any parent or other person who shall willfully or maliciously engage in child abuse shall, upon conviction, be guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment in the custody of the Department of Corrections not exceeding life imprisonment, or by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one (1) year, or by a fine of not less than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) nor more than Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00), or both such fine and imprisonment. As used in this subsection, “child abuse” means the willful or malicious harm or threatened harm or failure to protect from harm or threatened harm to the health, safety, or welfare of a child under eighteen (18) years of age by another, or the act of willfully or maliciously injuring, torturing or maiming a child under eighteen (18) years of age by another.

Child abuse is also an eighty-five (85%) crime. In order to prove child abuse at trial a prosecutor must prove the following:


No person may be convicted of child abuse unless the State has proved beyond a reasonable doubt each element of the crime. These elements are:

First, a person willfully/maliciously;

Second, harmed/(threatened harm to) the health, safety, or welfare;

Third, of a child under the age of eighteen;


First, a person responsible for a child's health, safety, or welfare;

Second, willfully/maliciously;

Third, failed to protect from harm/(threatened harm) to the health, safety, or welfare;

Fourth, of a child under the age of eighteen.

Child abuse is a very serious charge in Oklahoma. Anyone facing child abuse needs to take the case seriously. If you or a loved one is facing a charge of child abuse you need think carefully before you hire a lawyer. If you or a loved one is charged with child abuse it may also help you to understand probable cause and how experienced criminal attorneys analyze criminal cases.

Return to the Oklahoma Criminal Law Guide

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