Can a statement from a young child who says he was abused physically be used if he does not understand the difference between the truth or a lie?

UPDATED: Jun 26, 2012

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Can a statement from a young child who says he was abused physically be used if he does not understand the difference between the truth or a lie?

My child had fallen and he this red mark on his back. He also had this mark on his arm. He told the school he was beaten, he fell on a Monday and was attending school. He told the school this on a Thursday. 2 days later he says he made a mistake, he is very sorry, said the wrong thing, he just did not want to take the morning school bus. I believe he was being picked on, but he also does not fully understand the difference between truth/lie fact/fiction. I was still charged as if I hit him, when he fell and I was keeping him from hurting himself further, mark on his arm, I grabbed him.

Asked on June 26, 2012 under Criminal Law, New York


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

A statement from a child no matter how young he or she is can be used in evidence against a third person. The issue is how believable the child is and whether he or she knows the difference between the truth or a lie. In essence, what you have written about is a credibility issue with respect to your child which has gotten you in trouble.

I suggest that you consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney with respect to your matter.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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