Orlando Child Abuse Defense Attorneys
Under Florida law, child abuse consists of any intentional action causing physical or mental harm, including actions that a reasonable person would believe capable of causing damage to the child’s physical or mental health, or encouraging anyone else to do anything that could be reasonably expected to cause such harm. Child abuse can be perpetrated by any adult, including a child’s own parents.
Aggravated child abuse is a more severe charge, which occurs when child abuse results in physical harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement. This charge is also used in cases in which someone has tortured, maliciously punished, caged, or committed aggravated battery against a child.
Potential Penalties for a Child Abuse Conviction
Child abuse of any kind is a felony in Florida, making it a serious crime regardless of the exact charges and circumstances. Even though all child abuse charges are felonies, penalties for child abuse vary depending on the severity of the injuries to the child as well as on the number of previous offenses.
If the abuse does not result in serious harm, disability that is permanent, or permanent disfigurement, it is considered a third degree felony. You may face imprisonment for up to five years, fines up to $5,000, or some combination of the two.
Aggravated child abuse is a first degree felony, which carries more serious penalties. If convicted, you may face up to 30 years in prison, up to $10,000 in fines, or a combination of the two.
Defending Against Child Abuse Charges
If you are being charged with the abuse of your own child, you have the right to discipline the child and may claim parental privilege as your defense. This same defense may apply if you are a teacher or other person authorized to act “in loco parentis,” meaning “in place of the parent,” giving you the authority to discipline. Minor bruising may be defensible, but understand that parental privilege will not apply if any other injuries occurred.
Depending on the circumstances of the injury to the child and the accusation, other defenses may also apply. Especially in cases of custody battles or other difficult situations, false accusations may be made in an attempt to alter the child’s living situation. The child may also have been injured as a result of an accident, disease, or even interactions with other children, in which case presenting proof of the accident can help you to defend against the charges.
How an Attorney can Help
If you have been accused of child abuse, do not wait to contact an attorney. You may be tempted to defend yourself, particularly if you see no merit in the case. However, the experienced attorneys at Moses and Rooth, Attorneys at Law, are better equipped to prove your innocence by gathering expert witnesses, evaluating evidence, and countering any evidence used against you. Call us today at 407-377-0150 to schedule a consultation.
Child Abuse FAQs
Q. How does child abuse get reported most often?
A. Child abuse charges often result from a teacher, doctor, neighbor, counselor or other community member observing bruises or other signs of physical or psychological abuse on a child. Child abuse is also often reported by one of the child’s parents.
Q. What constitutes child abuse?
A. Any intentional action causing physical or mental harm to a child is considered abuse under Florida law.
Q. Is child abuse a felony in Florida?
A. Yes. Child abuse of any kind is a felony under Florida law.
Q. How can a lawyer help someone charged with child abuse?
A. Currently, Florida’s statute regarding child abuse leaves a lot of room for interpretation. Therefore, an experienced child abuse attorney will be able to evaluate the physical or mental injury that the state’s attorney is alleging, and discuss possible defenses with the accused.