There are devastating consequences if a person is falsely accused of child abuse, which includes serious impacts on one’s professional and personal life. There are several reasons why people are falsely accused of child abuse. Specifically, the individual making the false report may want to exact revenge on the accused, or fabricate these allegations in order to prevail in a custody battle.
At Musca Law, our Florida child abuse defense lawyers have assisted thousands of clients facing false accusations of child abuse. We get how frightening this can be, and that is why we work tirelessly to help our clients receive the justice they deserve. Let the legal professional assist you in fighting against your child abuse charges today by calling 1 (888) 484-5057.
In Florida, individuals are prohibited from making false allegations of child abuse. Florida actually criminalizes those who willfully or knowingly make false reports of child abuse or if they influence another person to make false accusations of child abuse. If a person is convicted of bringing forth a false child abuse claim, he or she will be charged with a third-degree felony, which carries with it a maximum jail term of five years as well as steep monetary fines.
Florida law provides that it is illegal to bring forth a false child abuse claim when it is done with the intent to embarrass, harm, or embarrass the individual subject to the claim. It also provides that a person is prohibited from falsely accusing another of child abuse for the purpose of acquiring custody, financial gain, or to obtain other benefits.
When a person raises false claims of child abuse, this can not only negatively affect a person’s standing in the community and their job, it can also seriously damage the target’s relationship with his or her child(ren). This situation becomes even more serious if there were previous allegations of domestic violence or child abuse against the target.
It is not always clear whether a claim of child abuse is false. A judge overseeing the matter will investigate the claim prior to making a determination that it is false. In order to gain factual evidence to support or dismiss a child abuse claim, the judge may order supervised visitation or other oversight mechanisms. This type of interference can negatively affect a parent’s relationship with his or her child(ren).
In several circumstances, a judge will take a conservative approach when there is an allegation of child abuse, especially if there is evidence to support the claim. If a judge renders a decision that the child abuse allegation is false, the accuser could face serious consequences, including losing time with the child(ren) subject to the claim.
Consequences of Being Convicted of Child Abuse
False accusations of child abuse can affect a person’s life devastating ways if convicted. Whether the accuser raised the child abuse claim out of malice or due to a misunderstanding, false accusations have dire consequences if there is a conviction. The consequences of a child abuse conviction in Florida are as follows:
- Prison time
- Loss of parental rights
- A permanent criminal record
- Difficulty finding gainful employment
- Difficulty finding suitable housing
- Supervised visitation
- Interference and checkups from child protective services if the offender is able to continue living with the child(ren)
What You Should Do When Facing Child Abuse Allegations
- Contact an attorney. The most important step you should take is to contact an attorney who has experience in handling child abuse cases. The Florida criminal defense attorneys at Musca Law can help you build the strongest defense possible on your behalf. Do not wait to call our firm, as your life and liberty depend upon it.
- Never answer questions without having your attorney present. Once you have hired a seasoned Florida criminal defense attorney, do not speak with anyone without your attorney present. This means that you should never answer questions or discuss with any of the following:
- Child protective services
- The police
- Childcare workers or teachers
- Other government workers or social workers
- The child’s parents or other parent if the child(ren) subject to the child abuse allegation are yours
It does not matter whether the questions are legal in nature, as the prosecutor can use the information you provide against you in the criminal proceedings. Your lawyer will know when it is acceptable for you to respond to questions from your accusers or the police, and when it is in your best interests to wait until you are in front of a judge or jury. In essence, it is the best course of action to not say anything at all unless you are in the presence of your attorney.
Do Not Act in Anger During the Pendency of Your Child Abuse Case
If you are facing child abuse allegations, it is likely that you are experiencing a significant amount of frustration and fear. However, you must not respond to the accusations with anger, as your actions and words can negatively affect your case.
Arguments and disputes can be determined by the prosecution to be disturbances of the peace, which can hurt your chances of prevailing in a child abuse case.
If the accusations pertain to a custody dispute, it is critical that you not engage in fights with the other parent. Always keep calm and collected. If you do so, you better your chances of prevailing in your case.
Contact Musca Law Today. Your Life and Your Liberty Depend Upon It!
Child abuse allegations can be frightening. When you work a seasoned Florida criminal defense attorney at Musca Law, he or she will help you to fight against the allegations to the fullest extent of the law. Our firm’s attorneys are among The National Trial Lawyers – Top 100 Trial Lawyers, included in the 2012 Florida Super Lawyers® for criminal defense, and boast 10.0 Superb Avvo ratings. Our attorneys are skilled, experienced, tenacious, and relentless when it comes to defending our clients. To learn more about how Musca Law can make a difference for you, call (888) 484-5057 today.