Lakeland, Polk County Criminal Defense Lawyer - DCF Child Abuse Neglect

Lakeland Child Abuse Attorneys

If you are charged with child abuse or neglect, it is critical that you speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney who will aggressively protect your rights.  In Florida, child abuse occurs where there is an intentional inflection of a physical or mental injury on a child, or an intentional act that could reasonably be expected to result in physical or mental injury to a child, or 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.  Child neglect is a caregiver’s failure or omission to provide a child with care, supervision, and services necessary to maintain the child’s physical and mental health. These charges can range from a third degree to a first degree felony.  These charges can result in no contact with your children.  The Department of Children and Family Services is usually involved in these cases as well.  Once the Department is involved, you could be faced with the burden of losing your parental rights or having your parental rights substantially impacted.  

Penalties

  • Aggravated Child Abuse - 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.
  • Felony Child Abuse- 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 of probation, and a $5,000.00 fine.
  • Felony Child Neglect - Where the neglect or abuse does not result in great bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement the charge is a third degree felony, with penalties of up to 5 years in prison or 5 years of probation and a $5,000 fine.  Where great bodily harm occurs, the charge is a second degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison or 15 years probation and a $10,000 fine.

Defenses to Child Neglect

  • The defendant’s acts were not willful, or sufficiently flagrant or negligent.
  • The defendant used reasonable efforts to protect the child from abuse or neglect.
  • The defendant is not a caregiver with the responsibility for the child’s welfare.
  • The incident occurred as a result of an accident, mistake of fact, or misunderstanding.
  • The defendant was under the reasonable impression that another person was supervising the child,
  • The defendant’s acts or omissions amount to mere negligence.
  • Lack of proof as to the acts, omissions, or mental state of the defendant.
  • The harm suffered in the course of the incident was not reasonably foreseeable.

Defenses to Child Abuse

  • Factual disputes as to the perpetrator of the alleged abuse.
  • Insufficient evidence that the defendant committed abuse.
  • Defendant’s acts were not intentional.
  • The Defendant did not act in a manner that could reasonably be expected to cause physical or mental injury.
  • Accidents and mere negligence.
  • False accusations.
  • Self-defense (when teenagers are involved).
  • Defense of others.

It is important that you have a criminal defense attorney that will fight for your rights and defend you.  You need an aggressive attorney that will defend you and fight for you.  For your free and confidential consultation, contact us online today or call Attorney Heather Bryan at 863-825-5309.