As we know, statistics show that child abuse in Florida has been at an ongoing high with the majority of other states in comparison. The Florida Statute defines child abuse as a deliberate act that causes or could reasonably be expected to cause physical or mental impairment to a child. Any individual under the age of eighteen is a child, and we refer to an adult household member, parent, or other person in charge of the child’s welfare as a caregiver. It’s important to note that the prosecutor may opt to charge child abuse as a felony rather than a misdemeanor, even in cases where the victim is an adult, and someone without a parental or custody relationship with them committed the abuse.
When it comes to managing allegations of child abuse, the state of Florida has a special paradigm. Multiple tiers are involved, and agencies frequently transfer cases. With the exception of seven counties, the Florida Department for Children and Families (DCF) conducts investigations. The legislature gave some sheriff’s offices complete authority beginning in the 1990s. Sheriff’s offices in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Manatee, Broward, Seminole, and Walton Counties handle child protective investigations. A statute expressly assigns certain counties the responsibility of carrying out child protective investigations. The mid-1990s pilot program in Manatee County is credited with enabling county sheriff’s offices to conduct child protective investigations. Manatee, Broward, Pasco, and Pinellas Counties were granted statutory authority to conduct child protective investigations starting with the fiscal year 1998-1999. This authority was extended to Seminole County in 2000, Hillsborough County in 2005, and Walton County in 2018.
Penalties for Abuse of Children
Child abuse is classified as a Third Degree Felony in the state of Florida, carrying a sentence of up to five (5) years in jail, five years of probation, and a $5,000 fine.
A parent or someone acting in charge, such as a teacher, has the right to administer reasonable discipline to a child under their supervision. However, the parental privilege is not applicable if the discipline results in injuries more severe than light bruises.
While Florida’s child abuse laws aim to shield children from grave danger, it’s regrettable that many abuse claims are false or overstated. Child abuse and neglect are felonies with serious penalties for conviction because of the delicate nature of these instances. As a result, you could want the assistance of a skilled Florida child abuse attorney.
Charges of child abuse can cause significant disruptions for your family. Sentencing you for a crime carries severe penalties, such as jail time, fines, and child custody arrangements. If the Department of Children and Families (DCF) is investigating you or if you are facing accusations of child abuse or neglect, you should seek legal representation immediately.
The criminal defense lawyers at Adolphe Law Group have handled cases for both the prosecution and the defense for more than 30 years combined, so they are knowledgeable about the ins and outs of child abuse cases. Contact our office to schedule a consultation if you have inquiries concerning your charges or need legal assistance.
Protections Against Neglect or Abuse of Children
Florida prosecutes crimes against children harshly because of the sensitive nature of the offense. However, these charges are frequently the product of a miscommunication that could seriously affect you.
A case dismissal or reduced charges are possible outcomes of several defenses. The criminal attorneys at Adolphe Law Group may employ the following defense tactics in addition to gathering evidence to refute your charges:
- Unfounded allegations.
- Insufficient proof of maltreatment.
- Parental right to discipline (the previously mentioned right of parents to correct their children in a reasonable manner).
- The defendant didn’t think that what they did would hurt anyone.
- The injury was unintentional—for example, when your child unintentionally shut a door on their hand—or the consequence of other events, such as a fight with a fellow student at school.
- Determining the optimal legal approach is contingent upon the particular facts surrounding your case. Seeking to investigate a relevant defense for your circumstances, you ought to consult with a child abuse attorney.
Allegations of child abuse have the potential to jeopardize all that matters to you. These charges could impact your family and lead to a conviction that carries heavy penalties and jail time. Your future and your freedom are on the line. Therefore, you may want to seek the assistance of a tough criminal defense attorney. A knowledgeable lawyer should be by your side if you are charged with child abuse or neglect. Contact Adolphe Law Group child neglect attorneys right now to arrange a consultation.