Sarasota police report that a mother and father were charged with felony child abuse and neglect. Police allege that the parents were beating and not feeding their children. When police found the children they were severely malnourished and dehydrated. The Department of Children Families contacted police about the child abuse. Police discovered the children a 6-year-old boy and 4-year-old twins, a boy and a girl, who were malnourished and dehydrated. Investigators also discovered scars and markings consistent with injury inflicted from a belt on the twins. The six year old told police that his father would beat the twins with a belt when they soiled themselves. The younger children were checked into All Children’s Hospital. Both parents are being held on bond with no contact orders with the victims or minors. The abuse is still under investigation and both parents may face additional charges.
Child abuse allegations can be difficult for a family. The example above may be clearer than what most people experience, sometimes well meaning parents are accused of abuse for spanking their children. Many parents may not think that it is a crime to spank their child. Additionally, child advocates may disagree about the usefulness of spanking and the point at which spanking becomes abuse. A parent may discipline their child when someone makes an abuse accusation. Suddenly, parents face losing their children and social stigma from their community. If you are facing child abuse charges you should understand how Florida law defines and punishes alleged child abusers.
What is Child Abuse Under Florida Law?
There are two types of child abuses charges under Florida law: child abuse and aggravated child abuse. Both crimes are punishable by time in prison..
- Child Abuse: child abuse occurs when a person intentionally inflicts mental or physical injury on a child. This definition also includes intentional acts which would reasonably be expected to result in physical or mental injury to a child abuse is a third degree felony which carries a potential penalty of five years in prison and a $5000 fine.
- Aggravated Child Abuse: aggravated child abuse occurs when a person perpetrates an aggravated battery against a child, willfully tortures, or maliciously punishes, or unlawfully cages a child” The crimes also includes action where a person abuses a child and causes harm that permanently disables a child. Aggravated child abuse is a serious crime and is punishable with up to thirty years in prison.
Seek Help From an Attorney
Child abuse and neglect charges are serious and can destroy a family. The line between spanking and abuse is not always clear for everyone. If you are facing child abuse charges, let the Orlando child abuse and neglect attorneys at Moses & Rooth help. We can help you understand the full impact of a child abuse charge and help you develop a strategy for moving forward in court. Please contact us today at 407-377-0150 to schedule an initial consultation.