In this section, our attorneys explain Nevada’s criminal laws and legal concepts, A to Z
What is the difference between child abuse, neglect and endangerment in Nevada?
Child abuse is physically causing a minor under 18 years old unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering. Child neglect is failing to tend to the minor’s care. And child endangerment is putting the minor in a hazardous situation. But these distinctions do not determine Nevada’s criminal penalties for harming a child. Instead, the punishment for committing child abuse, neglect, or endangerment (NRS 200.508) depends on five factors:
Child abuse is inflicting unlawful physical pain, emotional injury, or sexual harm on a person under 18 years old. Five examples of child abuse include:
Nevada law permits corporal punishment – such as a smack or a spanking – to discipline a child. But they cannot be debilitating or excessive to where it causes a physical injury or a mental injury.2
Neglect of a child is abandoning a minor or not giving him/her sufficient food, shelter, medical care, supervision, or other necessary care. So whereas child abuse stems from the abuser’s actions, negligent treatment of a child’s welfare and well-being stems from the abuser’s inaction.
Note that parents and guardians can administer children alternative medicines or non-medical remedial treatments only if:
A defendant can still be convicted of neglect even if the child sustains no long-term harm as a result of abuse. Just the act of neglecting a minor is a crime.3
Child endangerment is placing a child in circumstances that any reasonable person would know would jeopardize the minor’s physical or mental health. Three examples of endangerment are:
Even if the child emerges without injury, the defendant could still be convicted for endangering the child’s health.4
The punishment for harming the welfare of a child turns on the defendant’s culpability, the seriousness of the injuries, and the minor’s age.
Child abuse, neglect, or endangerment crime
|The defendant acted willfully, and the minor sustained substantial bodily or mental harm.
|If the matter involved sexual abuse or exploitation of a child thirteen (13) or younger, then it is a category A felony:
Otherwise, it is a category B felony:
|The defendant acted willfully, and the minor sustained no substantial bodily or mental harm.
|If the defendant has no prior child abuse convictions, then it is a category B felony:
Otherwise, the sentence is:
|The defendant did not act willfully, and the minor sustained substantial bodily or mental harm.
|If the matter involved sexual abuse or exploitation of a child thirteen (13) or younger, it is a category A felony:
Otherwise, it is a category B felony:
|The defendant did not act willfully, and the minor sustained no substantial bodily or mental harm.||If the defendant has no prior child abuse convictions, then it is a gross misdemeanor. The maximum sentence is:
Otherwise, it is a category C felony:
Our criminal defense attorneys have law offices in Las Vegas and Reno, and we serve clients throughout Clark County and statewide.
See our articles on the related offenses of battery domestic violence (NRS 200.485), sexual assault (NRS 200.366), lewdness with a child (NRS 201.230), first-degree murder and second-degree murder (NRS 200.030).
To report maltreatment of a child, call law enforcement or go to Child Protective Services (CPS) of the Nevada Department of Health & Human Services Division of Child & Family Services. The hotline is 1-833-803-1183.
A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, Court TV, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.
Child abuse is considered a serious criminal offense in every state in the country. However, each state’s criminal penal code defines the offense differently. In Nevada, the crime of child abuse is governed by Nevada Statute 200.508 which describes child abuse as: willfully causing a child younger than 18 years of age to suffer unjustifiable physical ...
In California, it is not necessarily illegal to spank or otherwise use corporal punishment on your child. The spanking, however, cannot be excessive. Courts normally draw the line at injury. If you inflict visible injury on the child, chances are that it crosses the line from reasonable disciple to child abuse. Excessive or unreasonable spanking ...
Per Penal Code 647.6 PC, child annoyance is a type of criminal conduct in California. This conduct occurs when: a person engages in an act directed at a child (under the age of 18), the act is motivated by sexual interest in the child, and a normal person would have been disturbed, irritated, or injured ...
Whether or not it is either right or effective to discipline your child by spanking him or her is a subject of much controversy. But can spanking your child in Oakland, California get you charged with a crime for violating California’s child abuse laws? It can, if the spanking is found to be “cruel and inhuman,” ...