Defense of Child Abuse Charges in the State of Florida
Facing child abuse allegations in Florida has severe ramifications. Primarily, the person accused of committing child abuse could receive a lengthy prison sentence, pay a large fine, and be saddled with a long probationary period. Most people understand the consequences of being convicted of a crime in Florida. However, the individual facing child abuse charges must recognize that person could be a respondent in an injunction to prevent further child abuse. Moreover, the state of Florida, acting on behalf of the allegedly abused child, could file a complaint to end the parental rights of the accused.
Calling an aggressive, seasoned, and skilled Florida child abuse defense attorney is the first step anyone charged with child abuse in Florida must take to mount a strong defense to these allegations. The state’s attorney will dedicate all of the resources available to win a conviction against a person accused of child abuse. Child abuse prosecutions can be extremely complex cases that involve expert testimony, medical testimony, and perhaps testimony from therapists as well, in addition to fact witnesses and testimony from law enforcement investigators. Therefore, having a Florida child abuse defense lawyer who possesses the resources, skill, and has extensive experience defending serious criminal cases like child abuse prosecutions is the only way a person facing child abuse charges in Florida could mount a viable defense.
Musca Law — one of Florida’s premier child abuse defense firms in the state — has successfully represented numerous clients facing child abuse charges in Florida. With a combined 150-years of criminal defense experience in Florida, Musca Law’s Florida child abuse defense lawyers are uniquely positioned to devise a defense strategy that could mean the difference between long periods of incarceration and remaining free. To find out how Musca Law’s Florida child abuse defense lawyers could develop a strategy to protect your freedom, call 888-484-5057 today.
Child Abuse in Florida Defined
Florida Statutes §827.03 describes child abuse in terms of aggravated child abuse, child abuse, and neglect of a child. Under §827.03, aggravated child abuse is an aggravated battery, torture, malicious punishment, caging of a child, or physical abuse of a child that causes permanent disability, disfigurement, or great bodily harm. Section 827.03 defines child abuse as intentionally inflicting physical or mental injury on a child, committing an intentional act that is likely to inflict injury to a child, or encouraging another to commit an act that could injure a child.
Neglect of a child has a broader definition that aggravated child abuse and child abuse. Neglect of a child occurs when any person charged with the care of a child fails to properly supervise a child, care for the child, or provide the services that are necessary to maintain the child’s physical and mental health properly. Necessary services include providing adequate food, clothing, shelter, nutrition, medicine, and medical services, along with appropriate supervision that a prudent individual would believe is necessary to care for the well-being of the child. Florida law also defines neglect of a child as the fails to protect a child from abuse, exploitation, or exploitation committed at the hands of another person.
Offenses Specifically Related to Child Abuse
Offenses like an aggravated battery, sexual battery, and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs with a child under eighteen in the vehicle are offenses that could be charged alone or in conjunction with the offenses listed under §827.03. Under §827.03(2)(a), any person convicted of aggravated child abuse is guilty of a first-degree felony. In Florida, a person found guilty of a first-degree felony faces up to 30 years in the state prison and a fine not to exceed $10,000.00. Additionally, willful abuse of a child or negligent abuse of a child that results in great physical injury to a permanent child, causes a disfigurement, or permanent disability faces punishment for a second-degree felony. The most severe punishment for a second-degree felony in Florida is fifteen-years committed to the state’s prison and a $10,000.00 fine.
Florida’s child abuse statute designates two acts as third-degree felonies. The maximum state prison sentence for a third-degree felony in Florida is five-years incarceration and a maximum fine of $5,000.00. According to §827.03(c) and (d), the punishment designated for a third-degree felony must be imposed when a person is convicted for the knowing or willful abuse of a child or the culpable neglect of a child that does not cause any injury or injures a child, but the injury is less serious and does not cause great bodily harm, permanent disfigurement, or permanent disability.
Defenses to Allegations of Child Abuse
Parents, guardians, and other caregivers retain the right to physically punish a child, provided that the discipline does not cause a serious injury. Consequently, striking a child or physically restraining a child is not child abuse when the injury causes bruising, which is considered minor or an injury that is temporary but does not meet the definition of great bodily harm. The right to discipline is customarily a viable defense to child abuse claims when the prosecution argues persistent and on-going physical abuse.
Accidental injury is also a common defense. Some children are more likely to suffer injuries from falls and banging into objects than others for a variety of innocent reasons that have nothing to do with child abuse. In other words, some children are injury-prone. It happens, and it is not a crime.
False claims of child abuse are particularly heinous and arise in situations such as a bitter divorce and custody battle. Sadly, this happens all-to-often. One parent will try to get an advantage by claiming the other parent either committed or permitted physical abuse.
Defenses to child neglect include arguing that the accused did everything a reasonable person would do under the circumstances to protect the child, or that under the present circumstances, the accused did not know or appreciate that medical attention was necessary. Additionally, arguing a third-party culprit committed the crimes and not the accused is always a viable defense.
Musca Law Child Abuse Defense Lawyers are Ready to Fight for You
Call Musca Law right now at 1 (888) 484-5057 to find out how they will fight for you. Musca Law’s Florida child abuse defense lawyers are available 24/7 to protect your freedom.