2006 Louisiana Laws - RS 14:74 — Criminal neglect of family
PART IV. OFFENSES AFFECTING THE FAMILY
SUBPART A. CRIMINAL NEGLECT OF FAMILY
§74. Criminal neglect of family
A.(1) Criminal neglect of family is the desertion or intentional nonsupport:
(a) By a spouse of his or her spouse who is in destitute or necessitous circumstances; or
(b) By either parent of his minor child who is in necessitous circumstances, there being a duty established by this Section for either parent to support his child.
(2) Each parent shall have this duty without regard to the reasons and irrespective of the causes of his living separate from the other parent. The duty established by this Section shall apply retrospectively to all children born prior to the effective date of this Section.
(3) For purposes of this Subsection, the factors considered in determining whether "necessitous circumstances" exist are food, shelter, clothing, health, and with regard to minor children only, adequate education, including but not limited to public, private, or home schooling, and comfort.
B.(1) Whenever a husband has left his wife or a wife has left her husband in destitute or necessitous circumstances and has not provided means of support within thirty days thereafter, his or her failure to so provide shall be only presumptive evidence for the purpose of determining the substantive elements of this offense that at the time of leaving he or she intended desertion and nonsupport. The receipt of assistance from the Family Independence Temporary Assistance Program (FITAP) shall constitute only presumptive evidence of necessitous circumstances for purposes of proving the substantive elements of this offense. Physical incapacity which prevents a person from seeking any type of employment constitutes a defense to the charge of criminal neglect of family.
(2) Whenever a parent has left his minor child in necessitous circumstances and has not provided means of support within thirty days thereafter, his failure to so provide shall be only presumptive evidence for the purpose of determining the substantive elements of this offense that at the time of leaving the parent intended desertion and nonsupport. The receipt of assistance from the Family Independence Temporary Assistance Program (FITAP) shall constitute only presumptive evidence of necessitous circumstances for the purpose of proving the substantive elements of this offense. Physical incapacity which prevents a person from seeking any type of employment constitutes a defense to the charge of criminal neglect of family.
C. Laws attaching a privilege against the disclosure of communications between husband and wife are inapplicable to proceedings under this Section. Husband and wife are competent witnesses to testify to any relevant matter.
D.(1) Whoever commits the offense of criminal neglect of family shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars or be imprisoned for not more than six months, or both, and may be placed on probation pursuant to R.S. 15:305.
(2) If a fine is imposed, the court shall direct it to be paid in whole or in part to the spouse or to the tutor or custodian of the child, to the court approved fiduciary of the spouse or child, or to the Louisiana Department of Social Services in a FITAP or Family Independence Temporary Assistance Program case or in a non-FITAP or Family Independence Temporary Assistance Program case in which the said department is rendering services, whichever is applicable; hereinafter, said payee shall be referred to as the "applicable payee." In addition, the court may issue a support order, after considering the circumstances and financial ability of the defendant, directing the defendant to pay a certain sum at such periods as the court may direct. This support shall be ordered payable to the applicable payee. The amount of support as set by the court may be increased or decreased by the court as the circumstances may require.
(3) The court may also require the defendant to enter into a recognizance, with or without surety, in order that the defendant shall make his or her personal appearance in court whenever required to do so and shall further comply with the terms of the order or of any subsequent modification thereof.
E. For the purposes of this Section, "spouse" shall mean a husband or wife.
Amended by Acts 1950, No. 164, §1; Acts 1952, No. 368, §1; Acts 1968, No. 233, §1; Acts 1968, No. 647, §1; Acts 1968, Ex.Sess., No. 14, §1; Acts 1975, No. 116, §1, eff. July 1, 1975; Acts 1976, No. 559, §1; Acts 1978, No. 443, §1; Acts 1979, No. 614, §1; Acts 1980, No. 764, §§4, 5; Acts 1981, No. 812, §3, eff. Aug. 2, 1981; Acts 1981, Ex.Sess., No. 36, §3, eff. Nov. 19, 1981; Acts 1984, No. 453, §§1 and 2; Acts 1997, No. 1402, §1.
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