Written by Kenneth L. Foote
Child Abuse Defense Attorneys
If you have been charged with Child Abuse, DO NOT speak to anyone who may seem to be acting in your best interest including social workers, law enforcement officers or representatives from Children & Family Services. These people, while appearing friendly, may actually be gathering evidence against you. You should speak to a lawyer before speaking to anyone about the circumstances surrounding your case. These cases are obviously emotionally charged and require the impartial perspective of an attorney. The child abuse defense attorneys at the Law Offices of K.L. Foote, can help you fight allegations of child abuse.
If you or a loved one has been arrested for a child abuse please call 1-877-903-6683 to discuss your case with an experienced child abuse defense attorney immediately.
Child Abuse As Defined By Floirda Statute
Florida Child Abuse charges (Florida Statute 827.03) stem from allegations of abuse (either physical or emotional) of a child, usually by family members, caretakers or friends. The age of the abused child, the extent of the child's injuries, or whether there was physical harm or allegations of emotional abuse determine whether this crime is charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. In addition, charges of Child Abuse can be brought against someone if their actions resulted in physical injury despite the fact that at the time, it was unlikely their actions would harm the child.
A man or woman who knowingly or willfully abuses a child without causing great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to the child commits a felony of the third degree, punishable by five years in Florida State Prison and a $1,000 fine.
For the charge of child abuse, the prosecutor for the State of Florida must prove two elements at trial beyond a reasonable doubt. First, the alleged victim must be under the age of 18. Secondly, the person accused must have done one of the following:
- Intentionally inflicted physical or mental injury upon the alleged victim;
- Committed an intentional act that could reasonably be expected to result in physical or mental injury to the alleged victim; or
- Actively encouraged another person to commit an act that resulted in or could reasonably have been expected to result in physical or mental injury to (victim).
Aggravated Child Abuse (Aggravated Battery)
Florida Statutes Section 827.03
Aggravated Child Abuse is a felony in the first degree punishable by 30 years in Florida State Prison. In order to prove the crime of Aggravated Child Abuse by committing Aggravated Battery upon a child, the prosecutor for the State of Florida must prove the following three elements beyond a reasonable doubt. The first element is a definition of battery.
- 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, or permanent disfigurement to the child.
"Neglect of a child" means:
- A caregiver's 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 caregiver's failure to make a reasonable effort to protect a child from abuse, neglect, or exploitation by another person. Neglect of a child may be based on repeated conduct or on a single incident or omission that results in, or could reasonably be expected to result in, serious physical or mental injury, or a substantial risk of death, to a child.
- A person who willfully or by culpable negligence neglects a child and in so doing causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to the child commits a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
- A person who willfully or by culpable negligence neglects a child without causing great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to the child commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
Under the child abuse statute, the term "maliciously" means wrongfully, intentionally, and without legal justification or excuse. Maliciousness may be established by circumstances from which one could conclude that a reasonable parent would not have engaged in the damaging acts toward the child for any valid reason and that the primary purpose of the acts was to cause the victim unjustifiable pain or injury.
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