Child Abuse / Child Neglect
Child abuse and child neglect are two separate crimes in the state of Florida. Both Child Abuse and Child Neglect charges are very serious and will be vigorously prosecuted because they involve a helpless victim. In addition to carrying severe penalties, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) will almost always conduct its own investigation of the allegations and such charges may result in the initiation of civil proceedings against you by the Department of Children and Families to have your parental rights stripped. Child abuse and child neglect cases are taken very serious by the state of Florida and are often very emotionally charged. However, there are defenses to the charges or child abuse and child neglect, that is why it is important to have an experienced attorney represent you. If convicted of child abuse, you will not only face public shame, you could go to jail and lose your parental rights. If you or someone you know is charged with child abuse or child neglect I can help you.
In child abuse and child neglect cases the victim must be under the age of 18. However, there is no requirement that the defendant be a parent or caregiver.
In child abuse cases, the State of Florida makes a distinction between Aggravated Child Abuse and Child Abuse.
Under Florida Statute 827.03, Aggravated Child Abuse occurs when a person:
- Commits aggravated battery on a child;
- Willfully tortures, maliciously punishes, or willfully and unlawfully cages a child; or
- Knowingly or willfully abuses a child and in so doing causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, permanent disfigurement to the child.
Aggravated child abuse is a very serious allegation classified as a First Degree Felony with extremely serious punishments. As a First Degree Felony Aggravated child abuse is punishable by up to 30 years in prison. Furthermore, Aggravated Child Abuse is classified as a level 9 offense under Florida's criminal punishment code. This means that if convicted of the crime of Aggravated Child Abuse there is a minimum sentence of 48 months in prison.
Under Florida statute 827.03(2)(c) child abuse occurs when A person:
- Intentionally inflicts physical or mental injury upon a Child;
- Intentionally acts in a manner that could reasonably be expected to result in physical or mental injury to a child; or
- Active encouragement of a person to commit to commit an act that could reasonably be expected to result in physical or mental injury to a child.
Child Abuse is a third-degree felony in the state of Florida and is punishable by up to 5 years in prison.What is Child Neglect?
- A caregivers failure or omission to provide a child with the care, supervision, and services necessary to maintain The child's physical and mental health, including, but not limited to, food, nutrition, clothing, Shelter, supervision, medicine, and medical services that a prudent person would consider essential for the well-being of the child; or
- A caregivers failure to make a reasonable effort to protect a child from abuse, neglect, or exploitation by another person.
There are many defenses that can be raised to the charges of child abuse and child neglect. A very common defense in child abuse cases is false allegations, which are sometimes made by one parent against another as an attempt to gain custody. Another common defense involves simple discipline of a child, it is not crime for a parent to use a reasonable means of discipline. It can overwhelming when charged with a crime, that is why is important to have an experienced attorney on your side. I have experience handling all kinds of cases, including child abuse and child neglect cases.
If you or a friend or family member were arrested and charged with Child Abuse or Child Neglect, regardless of whether you live in Melbourne, Palm Bay, Cocoa, Cocoa Beach, Merritt Island, Titusville, Rockledge, Viera, Cape Canaveral, Satellite Beach, Indian Harbour Beach, West Melbourne, Melbourne Village, Melbourne Beach, Indialantic, Palm Shores, Grant-Valkaria, Mims, or anywhere else in Brevard County, contact me to immediately schedule your free consultation.