In most states, child abuse or negligence may be charged as either a felony or a less serious offence, depending on the circumstances.
The most severe cases of child abuse can carry felony lifetime sentences, while the least serious cases are considered gross misdemeanors which could potentially result in no prison time.
Punishment will typically be more severe if the offender has a prior record of criminal child abuse activity and greatly reduced if there is no prior record.
For sentencing purposes, a person charged with child abuse or negligence may enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest.
In a large number of cases, sentencing can include probation or a prison term of up to five years. Sentencing in more serious cases may include a longer prison term.
Other possible penalties and/or consequences can include:-
- Lifetime requirement to register as a child sexual offender
- Termination of parental rights
- Ruined reputation
- No right to bear a child
- Criminal record
- Supervised access to the child
- Physical or actual loss and enjoyment of a child
- Continual involvement with a child protective services agency
My take: That swimming pool should have been hedged.