Law Office of Gregg R. Woodnick, PLLC       

Practice Areas

Child Protective Services (CPS)/ Dependency

Being accused of child abuse or molestation will change your life forever. Allegations of abuse often come from school teachers, family members and medical providers. These matters may be investigated by both the police department and Child Protective Services (CPS). CPS may take action, including the immediate removal of your children from their home, if certain criteria are met.

What you say and do when CPS is called can have long lasting ramifications. A 'substantiated' finding of abuse can have adverse impact on your livelihood, future custody determinations, and may be the beginning of a process where the State seeks to permanently terminate your rights as a parent.

Having handled hundreds of CPS removal cases, we are versed in identifying the issues even in the face of the most heinous and shocking accusations. Attorney, Gregg Woodnick, has served as a Guardian ad Litem representing children and victims of abuse and neglect. He has instructed and trained many GAL's and Court Appointed Advisors throughout Maricopa County. Gregg has handled abuse allegation cases throughout Arizona and is often called upon to consult with other attorneys and agencies in cases involving child abuse and neglect.

Sometimes the allegation is not as straight forward as drug or physical abuse. In recent years CPS has actively removed children from their homes for complex issues such as medical neglect and Munchhausen’s syndrome. Issues such as children's unique medical challenges may be misidentified as abuse. While CPS is generally well meaning in their efforts to 'protect the best interests of children,' they do make mistakes. A well-reasoned defense may help the Court understand that there are legitimate medical explanations for what has been improperly identified as abuse.

It is our job to defend your rights in the face of allegations involving neglect and abuse. If you are under investigation by CPS or the Police, do not hesitate to hire an attorney who is qualified in this complex arena.

            Representative Cases

  • Munchausen’s Syndrome: Representation of mothers accused of abusing children via factitious disorders.
  • Medical Neglect: Representation of parents accused of failing to get proper medical treatment for their children.
  • Drug/Substance Abuse: Representation of parents accused of neglect and abuse by way of their own drug or substance addictions.
  • High Profile: Representation of Mother in a publicized case who was accused of trading her child for drugs.
  • Physical/Sexual abuse: Representation of parents accused of physically or sexually abusing children.

            Faculty /Lecturer

  • Instructor: Trial Basics for Family Lawyers (State Bar of Arizona)
  • Instructor: Court Appointed Adviser training.
  • Lecturer: Aid to Adoption for Special Kids (AASK), Rise Services, Spring Training Blitz, AmeriPsych, and Mentally Ill Kids In Distress (MIKID).
  • Instructor: Mandatory Reporting Seminar for schools within the Catholic Dioceses.


Sexual Abuse Allegations

Unfortunately, false allegations of sexual abuse have become rampant. Studies indicate that as many as 80% of allegations that arise during custody proceedings are fabricated. Despite these statistics, CPS, police departments and the Courts tend to err on the side of caution.

A parent may file child sexual abuse charges against another parent for reasons of revenge, anger or jealousy. A relative or parent may coax a child into making false allegations in an effort to gain custody of a child. Sometimes a person may have simply been in the wrong place at the wrong time and was therefore falsely accused of an impropriety when nothing actually took place.

Allegations arise not only from parents and family members, but sometimes as the result of bad therapy. Our attorneys have been involved in a number of complex sexual abuse allegation cases where the victim’s memory was ultimately determined to have been caused by bad therapy. This phenomenon of ‘false memory’ has been the subject of numerous professional articles and publications. Gregg Woodnick’s work and professional relationships with psychologists throughout the country helps him to understand the complexities of these situations and effectively advocate for his clients.

Sexual abuse allegations are an area of law that everyone, attorneys included, are uncomfortable discussing. Notwithstanding, parents need representation as these cases tend to take on a life of their own. Being accused of inappropriate sexual contact with a child may affect your employability, reputation, custody of your children and ultimately your freedom if you are convicted of an offense. Sexual offenses and child abuse are very serious crimes under Arizona law. Some offenses are designated Dangerous Crimes Against Children (DCAC). If convicted of one of these crimes, you will face mandatory prison time.

            Representative Cases

  • Sexual Abuse: Representation of Parents accused of sexually abusing children in multijurisdictional matters.
  • Step-Parent Allegations: Representation of step parents who are accused of inappropriate sexual contact.
  • Guardian ad Litem: Served as Guardian ad Litem (GAL) in molestation allegation cases in Juvenile, Family and Criminal Court.


Criminal Representation

We are experienced in handling criminal cases. Our attorneys have represented the accused in counties and cities throughout Arizona. Some of the more high profile cases have included: drug trafficking, kidnapping, conspiracy, child molestation and serial arson. We also represent clients accused of drug offenses, child abuse, DUI’s and other felony and misdemeanor matters.

YOU ARE INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY

 

           Protecting Your Rights

  • If you have been arrested, the most important thing to know is that you should not discuss your case with any other person before consulting with a lawyer. You have the right to have an attorney.

           Criminal Neglect

  • Neglect is the inability of a parent or guardian to provide adequate supervision, food, clothing, shelter or medical care for a child resulting in substantial risk of harm to the child's health or welfare. Our attorneys have represented individuals in all types of neglect cases ranging from leaving children unattended in cars to cases of malnourishment.

           Drug Crimes

  • Drug Possession is an important distinction in a drug possession case is whether the possession was for personal use or possession for sale or intent to sell. Many other factors are used in determining whether to charge the defendant with a felony or a misdemeanor, such as quantity, type of drug, cash on hand at time of arrest, drug paraphernalia and packaging. We will sort through the facts and work to establish your innocence or negotiate the best deal possible for you.

 

            Representative Cases

 

  • Defense of false molestation and child abuse allegations throughout Arizona.
  • Defense of medical neglect and factitious disorder (Munchausen’s) allegations.
  • Defense and Drug crimes, Kidnapping, theft, sexual assault, robbery throughout Arizona
  • Sentence Mitigation, Clemency requests, Probation termination proceedings and setting-aside criminal records.


Juvenile Crimes

Due to their age, children receive special treatment in Arizona. Unfortunately, because of their youth, they often do not comprehend the ramifications of their actions until it is too late. A juvenile conviction (known as an 'Adjudication') may cause immediate and irreparable harm to your child's future. A record can interfere with your child's admission to a university and their ability to secure a good job.

Under some circumstances a child can be charged with a crime as an adult. This can happen by ‘direct filing’ from the County Attorney's Office or by a 'transfer' proceeding.

Our job is to aggressively defend your child's rights and develop a defense strategy which mitigates the effects of the charge on your child's future.

                Representative Cases

  • Non-violent Offenses: Defense of juveniles accused of computer and credit card fraud
  • Street Crime: Defense of juveniles accused of robbery, assault and other violent acts
  • Organized Crime: Defense of juveniles accused of gang activity
  • Sex Offenses: Defense of juveniles accused of sexual misconduct
  • High Profile Matters: Defense of a juvenile accused of a series of well publicized arson offenses in North Phoenix
  • Reservation Offenses: Defense of juvenile accused of assault on peace officer on Federal Indian Reservation


Negligence/Serious Injury

We do not handle regular civil matters such as contract disputes and fender-benders. However, we do represent parties seriously injured at the fault of another. While there are many attorneys in Arizona who handle ‘personal injury’ matters, our civil representation is focused on those with serious and catastrophic injuries. Many of our cases involve children who are seriously injured due to negligence of others. This may range from a child who was hurt in a car accident while in the care of others or a child who was abused while in CPS custody.

We have successfully litigated cases involving ‘negligence’ and intentional injuries such as our representation of a disabled child who was beaten by a teacher at a school in Phoenix.

                Representative Cases

  • Premise Liability: Representation of a teenager seriously injured at a house party when struck in the head by a rock.
  • School Liability: Representation of a child who was beaten by his school teacher.
  • Accident Liability: Representation of a teenager who suffered serious internal injuries in a motor vehicle accident.
  • Guardian ad Litem: Gregg Woodnick has served as GAL for children in civil matters throughout Maricopa County including a well-publicized case including a school bus driver who molested a disabled student.

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