Spanking or corporal punishment is a discipline method where a person administers pain on a child without causing injury, with the intention to modify the child’s behavior. Some forms of corporal punishment include hitting the child’s bottom, slapping, shoving, grabbing, or hitting them with a belt or paddle.
Now, this is not something that parents should do, however, it isn’t uncommon for them to do it. But, is spanking considered child abuse? The answer is yes, it can be considered abuse. If you were arrested for any form of child abuse, it’s essential to seek a New Mexico criminal defense attorney.
Is It Illegal to Spank Your Kid?
This is a gray area, but to put it simply, but New Mexico does not provide codified guidelines to define ‘legal’ spanking. If a parent is accused of abusing their child by spanking. it can be only considered on a case-by-case basis.
The first question to be considered in such cases is there domestic violence or other abusive behavior in the family. Also, is there a history of allegations of domestic violence or a history of false allegations of domestic violence? Whether or not spanking a child is abuse deserves an objective analysis. However, it’s important who will do it – the child themselves, the teacher, family court judge, the police, or the other parent.
When a child reports any form of abuse, all of these will contact the family (including the Child Protective Service investigator). It’s essential to see all perspectives. In some cases such as problematic divorces and custody battles, one parent might not spare the other from adding fuel to the fire. This is why such cases must be carefully observed.
The Line Between Spanking and Abuse
There isn’t a clear line between spanking and abuse. Using physical force against your child may turn into child abuse, assault, battery or domestic violence when the discipline causes injury, not only discomfort. Also, if the amount of force is unreasonable and its purpose is something else besides correcting dangerous or inappropriate behavior.
Potential Legal Issues
In cases of spanking, the courts have an inclination to err to the side of caution, which means that accusation of abuse may be enough to cause huge problems, no matter if the parent has actually done it or not. In cases of custody, this issue may affect the accused parent, so the judge will order against the use of physical discipline.
The state of New Mexico is a mandatory reporting state which means that if any adult suspects that another person is neglecting or abusing their children, they have the duty to report it to the New Mexico Children, Youth and Family Department. If they don’t report the case, they may be liable for not taking any action. So, it might not be illegal to spank a child in New Mexico, but it is still a bad idea to do it. No matter if you’re in a good marriage, or not, this may become an issue, especially if the child complains, or someone witnesses you doing it.
If you’re going through a custody battle, even a light spanking i.e physical discipline would add you negative points. No matter how appropriate under the circumstances it was, it will be used against you, without a doubt.
Do You Need a Lawyer?
If you face any allegations for child abuse, even if all you did was spanking your child in circumstances when you believed that physical discipline was necessary, you may want to hire a criminal defense attorney. Things may not go smoothly for you if you’re going through a divorce or a custody battle. The other parent will use this against you and their attorney will work their best to present you in the worst possible light. The judge will surely not be amused to hear this and chances are they will bring a final decision that goes against you.
Also, it’s very important, to be honest and tell your attorney what did you do. Sometimes parents might not be aware that even a simple spanking can leave marks on the young child, not only physical but also emotional. If you have any questions or dilemmas or are looking for a legal representation, our team at FBD Law is here for you. We will review your case and make sure to create the best defense for you. Call our office today and schedule your first consultation. Allow us to help you go through this case.