When facing a criminal charge for abusing a child, the State will do everything in its power to render a conviction. However, everyone is entitled to defend themselves in a Court of law, and considering the harsh penalties that comes with a child abuse conviction, you may want to take advantage of that right.
Speak with one of our trusted Attorneys at Leifert & Leifert if you have been accused. A Sunrise child abuse Lawyer could take the time to learn more about your case and help you build a solid defense.
Florida Child Abuse Laws
A person is charged with child abuse when they are suspected of of deliberately engaging in behavior that causes physical, mental, or emotional injury to a minor. Such conduct may involve a range of activities, from beatings to sexual molestation to contributing to the delinquency or addiction of a minor to abandonment. If the conduct is particularly cruel, involving torment and causing permanent disability or disfigurement, the police may charge the suspect with aggravated child abuse.
Neglect or failure to act may also form the basis of a child abuse charge. If a parent, guardian, or caregiver fails to supervise and provide a child with the basics of life, such as food, water, shelter, clothing, medicine, and healthcare, their actions may constitute a crime. Allowing someone else to mistreat a child without taking steps to stop the illegal conduct may also violate the law.
Allegations Versus Evidence
The prosecution must prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt to win a conviction. Before that can happen, both sides have an opportunity to investigate the circumstances leading up to the arrest, build a case, and, sometimes, engage in plea negotiations. To effectively navigate each of these steps those accused of harming a minor should seriously consider retaining a seasoned defense litigator.
If the case comes to trial, Florida Statutes Annotated § 827.01 & 827.03 require the state to show that the alleged victim was a minor (under the age of 18). The prosecutor must also demonstrate that the accused intentionally and knowingly caused harm, encouraged another to cause injury, or could reasonably expect the actions to damage the child.
Even if the state has compelling evidence, there may be more than one side to the story. An Attorney familiar with the nearby area will use testimony and other evidence to call the state’s child abuse case into question:
- Challenge questionable facts
- Point out ulterior motives of witnesses or claimants (for example, a pending divorce or child custody proceeding)
- Raise self-defense
- Explain the harm was not deliberate
Defense counsel may also consider invoking Florida’s parental privilege. Parental privilege does not pardon abusive conduct nor condone the mistreatment of children. However, it does allow parents and other caregivers to take reasonable disciplinary measures without being subject to a criminal record.
Penalties Following a Child Abuse Conviction
Child abuse is classified as a third-degree Felony and aggravated child abuse as a first-degree offense. Each requires the offender to serve time and pay a fine. Those convicted of child abuse in the third degree will spend no more than five years in prison or five years on probation. They will also pay a $5,000 fine. If convicted of aggravated child abuse, the offender will face up to 30 years in jail and pay a $10,000 fine.
These penalties can significantly infringe on a person’s freedom, finance, and good name. Working with a local Attorney experienced in defending child abuse cases could prove helpful in potentially avoiding the harshest punishments.
Get in Touch with a Sunrise Child Abuse Attorney Today
Building a successful defense takes time, but you need to partner with the right Attorney. Our team of Sunrise child abuse Lawyers understands the sensitivity involved in child abuse cases, while simultaneously champion your rights. Speak with one of our knowledgeable Attorneys at Leifert & Leifert today and see if we are the right ones to advocate for you. Call today to get started.