Arizona Child Neglect and Child Abandonment Laws

In Arizona, the protection of children and minors is of the utmost importance. As a result, the state has enacted a number of child abandonment and child neglect laws that protect children. Read on to learn more about Arizona child neglect and child abandonment laws, including potential penalties for a conviction.

Arizona Child Abandonment and Child Neglect Laws at a Glance

The criminal penalties of child abandonment and child neglect in Arizona are covered by the below table.

Crime

Sentence

Child Abandonment or Neglect (minimal penalty)

Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-3619, et seq.

  • Class 1 Misdemeanor
  • Up to 6 months in prison
  • 3 years of probation
  • $2,500 fine plus surcharges

Child Abandonment or Neglect (if done intentionally)

Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-3623, et seq.

  • Class 2 Felony
  • Minimum prison term of 4 years

Child Abandonment or Neglect (if done recklessly)

 

Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-3623, et seq.

  • Class 3 Felony
  • Minimum prison term of 2 years

Child Abandonment or Neglect (if done negligently)

Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-3623, et seq.

  • Class 4 Felony
  • Minimum prison term of 1 year

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Arizona Child Abandonment

Arizona defines child abandonment as the failure of a parent to provide reasonable support to a child including providing normal supervision and maintaining normal contact with a child (under the age of 18). A parent who has made only minimal efforts to support and communicate with their child may be found guilty of child abandonment as well. To make out clear evidence of child abandonment, a parent must fail to maintain a normal parental relationship with a child without just cause for a period of six months.

Arizona Child Neglect

On the other hand, Arizona defines child neglect as the inability or unwillingness of a parent, guardian, or custodian of a child to provide that child with supervision, food, clothing, shelter or medical care if that inability or unwillingness causes unreasonable risk of harm to the child's health or welfare. One exception to this rule is if the parent, guardian, or custodian is unable to provide services to meet the needs of a child with a disability or chronic illness because reasonable services are unavailable.

Child neglect also includes allowing a child to enter or remain in any structure or vehicle in which volatile, toxic or flammable chemicals or equipment used for the purposes of manufacturing a dangerous drug are found.

The finding of child neglect also includes a determination by a health professional that a newborn infant was exposed prenatally to a drug or substance or that an infant under one year of age is diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome or fetal alcohol effects.

Finally, child neglect encompasses any of the following acts committed by the child's parent, guardian or custodian with reckless disregard as to whether the child is physically present:

In addition, Arizona law requires certain people - health care professionals, peace officers, school personnel and parents, stepparents, and guardians - to report child neglect or child abandonment.

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As you can see, child abandonment and child neglect crimes can carry serious penalties in Arizona. If you want to learn more about the penalties or defenses associated with child abandonment or neglect in Arizona, you can contact a local attorney for a free initial case review at no obligation today.

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