Child Abuse Attorney

Child Abuse occurs when a person intentionally inflicts physical or mental injury on a child.  Child Abuse can relate to parents disciplining their child or engaging in corporal punishment.  Marks or bruises alone are not sufficient evidence for a child abuse conviction.  Parents are usually shocked to find they are the subject of a criminal investigation for child abuse or child neglect.  I am an experienced child abuse lawyer. Once hired, I will:

  1. Collect and review all written, video & photographic evidence;
  2. Search for any conflicts in the evidence;
  3. Identify all possible defenses;
  4. Start negotiating with the prosecutor for a reduction of the charges, and
  5. Do whatever is necessary to avoid a criminal conviction.

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The Definition of Child Abuse

In Florida, the crime of child abuse is defined under Florida Statute 827.03(1)(b). Criminal child abuse can take three forms, which include:

  1. The intentional infliction of physical or mental injury upon a child; or
  2. An intentional act that could reasonably be expected to result in physical or mental injury to a child; or
  3. Active encouragement of any person to commit an act that results or could reasonably be expected to result in physical or mental injury to a child.

Proving the Crime of Child Abuse

To prove the crime of child abuse at trial, the State of Florida must establish the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt. The government must prove the defendant:

  1. Intentionally inflicted physical or mental injury upon the alleged victim; or
  2. Committed an intentional act that could reasonably be expected to result in physical or mental injury to the alleged victim; or
  3. 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 the alleged victim; and
  4. The alleged victim was under the age of 18 years.

Abuse is any threatening or willful act resulting in any mental, physical or sexual injury or harm that is likely to cause or actually causes the child’s emotional, mental or physical health to be significantly impaired. Florida Statutes 39.01(2)

Child is defined as any unmarried person who is under the age of 18 and who is not emancipated. Florida Statute 39.01(12).

Mental injury is an injury to the intellectual or psychological capacity of a child as evidenced by a discernible and substantial impairment in the ability of the child to function within the normal range of performance and behavior as supported by expert testimony. Florida Statute 827.03(1)(d).

Physical Injury is any temporary or permanent disfigurement, death or impairment of any body part. Florida Statute 39.01(56).

Under Florida law, the offense of child abuse may be upgraded to aggravated child abuse where the defendant:

  1. Commits an aggravated battery on a child; or
  2. Willfully tortures, maliciously punishes, or willfully and unlawfully cages a child; or
  3. Knowingly or willfully abuses a child and in so doing causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to the child.

The Parental Privilege Defense in Florida

Under Florida law, parental privilege is an affirmative defense that, in some cases, may shield a defendant from criminal liability for child abuse. Parental privilege has been defined as the right of a parent, or one standing in loco parentis, to moderately chastise for correction a child under his or her control and authority

In practical terms, this means that parents have a right to administer reasonable or non-excessive corporal punishment, i.e., a typical spanking, without committing a crime. Parental privilege does not confer immunity from prosecution for child abuse or mean that child abuse cannot be committed by a parent. It merely provides a legal defense in a prosecution for simple child abuse where a defendant can credibly assert that his or her actions fell within the bounds of reasonable child discipline.

Child Abuse Lawyer

If you were recently arrested or charged with any child abuse, call me at 407-740-7275 to discuss your options. I offer a free consultation so that I can learn about you, learn about your case and determine what needs to be done to help.

Child Abuse occurs when a person intentionally inflicts physical or mental injury on a child.  Child Abuse can relate to parents disciplining their child or engaging in corporal punishment.  Marks or bruises alone are not sufficient evidence for a child abuse conviction.  Parents are usually shocked to find they are the subject of a criminal investigation for child abuse or child neglect.  I am an experienced child abuse lawyer. Once hired, I will:

  1. Collect and review all written, video & photographic evidence;
  2. Search for any conflicts in the evidence;
  3. Identify all possible defenses;
  4. Start negotiating with the prosecutor for a reduction of the charges, and
  5. Do whatever is necessary to avoid a criminal conviction.

playground

The Facts of your Child Abuse Case Matter

The constitution guarantees that people be free from illegal police conduct. It is important for you to know if any of your constitutional rights have been violated. The police must have a lawful basis for investigation and arrest. Unlawful police conduct can lead to the suppression of evidence and statements obtained after the illegal police conduct. Important questions that should be answered in any child abuse case are:

  • Did the incident occur as a result of an accident, mistake of fact, or misunderstanding?
  • Was the harm suffered in the course of the incident not reasonably foreseeable?
  • Were there any witnesses to corroborate these allegations?
  • Were you read your Miranda rights? Were any of your statements illegally obtained?
  • Are there other factors or motivations that show your lack of intent to commit a crime?
  • Is there a lack of evidence or a conflict in the evidence?

Definition of Child Abuse

In Florida, the crime of child abuse is defined under Florida Statute 827.03(1)(b). Criminal child abuse can take three forms, which include:

  1. The intentional infliction of physical or mental injury upon a child; or
  2. An intentional act that could reasonably be expected to result in physical or mental injury to a child; or
  3. Active encouragement of any person to commit an act that results or could reasonably be expected to result in physical or mental injury to a child.

Proving the Crime of Child Abuse in Florida

To prove the crime of child abuse at trial, the State of Florida must establish the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt. The government must prove the defendant:

  1. Intentionally inflicted physical or mental injury upon the alleged victim; or
  2. Committed an intentional act that could reasonably be expected to result in physical or mental injury to the alleged victim; or
  3. 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 the alleged victim; and
  4. The alleged victim was under the age of 18 years.
  5. Read the full Florida standard jury instructions here.

Abuse is any threatening or willful act resulting in any mental, physical or sexual injury or harm that is likely to cause or actually causes the child’s emotional, mental or physical health to be significantly impaired. Florida Statutes 39.01(2).

Child is defined as any unmarried person who is under the age of 18 and who is not emancipated. Florida Statute 39.01(12).

Mental injury is an injury to the intellectual or psychological capacity of a child as evidenced by a discernible and substantial impairment in the ability of the child to function within the normal range of performance and behavior as supported by expert testimony. Florida Statute 827.03(1)(d).

Physical Injury is any temporary or permanent disfigurement, death or impairment of any body part. Florida Statute 39.01(56).

Under Florida law, the offense of child abuse may be upgraded to aggravated child abuse where the defendant:

  1. Commits an aggravated battery on a child; or
  2. Willfully tortures, maliciously punishes, or willfully and unlawfully cages a child; or
  3. Knowingly or willfully abuses a child and in so doing causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to the child.

Child Abuse Penalties

All child abuse crimes in Florida are felony offenses and carry penalties that will vary according to a number of factors. Where the acts of the defendant constitute aggravated child abuse, the offense is classified as a first-degree felony, punishable by up to thirty years in prison and a $10,000.00 fine. Where the abuse does not amount to aggravated child abuse and does not cause great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to the child, the offense is a third-degree felony, with penalties of up to five years in prison or five years probation and a $5,000.00 fine. Other sanctions include:

  • Anger management class or counseling
  • Community service
  • Drug evaluation and any recommended follow up treatment
  • No contact or no return to the location of the incident

Glass wall in the office building

The Parental Privilege Defense in Florida

Under Florida law, parental privilege is an affirmative defense that, in some cases, may shield a defendant from criminal liability for child abuse. Parental privilege has been defined as the right of a parent, or one standing in loco parentis, to moderately chastise for correction a child under his or her control and authority.

In practical terms, this means that parents have a right to administer reasonable or non-excessive corporal punishment, i.e., a typical spanking, without committing a crime. Parental privilege does not confer immunity from prosecution for child abuse or mean that child abuse cannot be committed by a parent. It merely provides a legal defense in a prosecution for simple child abuse where a defendant can credibly assert that his or her actions fell within the bounds of reasonable child discipline.

Child Abuse Lawyer

If you were recently arrested or charged with child abuse or child neglect, call me at 407-740-7275 to discuss your options. I offer a free consultation so that I can learn about you, learn about your case and determine what needs to be done to help.

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