Child Abuse

Criminal Lawyer

Child abuse allegations are a very serious matter. Child abuse is a third degree felony punishable by a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison. Moreover, a Dependency Action could be filed which could result in the government seeking to terminate your parental rights.

There are three ways that the state can prove abuse of a child under the age of 18. First, the State can prove that the defendant intentionally inflicted physical or mental injury upon the child. Second, the State can prove that the defendant committed an intentional act that could reasonably be expected to result in physical or mental injury to the child. Third, the defendant 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 child.


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Decisions by the appellate courts have consistently held that parents are allowed to use corporal punishment on their children. In my opinion, the child abuse statute is very dangerous because it does not precisely state what specific actions by a parent are considered abuse and which actions are allowable. This has allowed different prosecutors to substitute their own beliefs when deciding which parents to

prosecute. Some prosecutors think that parents are only allowed to use an open hand spank on the rear end of a child. Anything else is abuse. Obviously, these prosecutors have no experience with teenagers!

Another problem with the law is the definition of mental injury. Under this law, a parent could be prosecuted for simply yelling at their child because it might hurt their feelings.

Aggravated child abuse is what most people think of when they think of child abuse. Aggravated child abuse occurs when a person commits aggravated battery on a child, wilfully tortures, maliciously punishes, or willfully and unlawfully cages a child; or knowingly or willfully abuses a child which causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement.

Aggravated child

abuse is a first degree felony punishable by a maximum prison sentence of 30 years.

A care giver of a child can be charged with child neglect for failing to provide a child with the care, supervision, and services necessary to maintain the child's physical and mental health. This includes, but is not limited to, food, nutrition, clothing, shelter, supervision, medicine, and medical services

that a reasonably prudent person would consider essential for the well-being of a child A care giver can also be charged with child neglect for failure to protect a child from abuse, neglect, or exploitation by another person. In other words, if a father abuses a child, a non-abusive mother could be charged with child neglect for failing to protect the child from the father.

Child neglect

is a third degree felony punishable by a maximum prison sentence of 5 years. However, if the child neglect causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to the child, the charges would be a second degree felony with a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

I am an experienced Board Certified Trial Specialist. Less than one percent of attorneys in Florida

are Board Certified. Only Board Certified attorneys are permitted to call themselves specialists or experts in Criminal Law. Common sense dictates that you don't hire a family doctor to perform brain surgery - you hire a specialist. Likewise, because your freedom is at stake, don't make the mistake of hiring a criminal lawyer who isn't recognized by the Florida Bar as a specialist in criminal law. Instead, hire a criminal attorney who is Board Certified.

If you need a criminal lawyer because you are charged with child abuse or child neglect in Clearwater, New Port Richey, or somewhere else in the Tampa Bay area, don't hesitate to call an experienced board certified criminal defense attorney. We offer Free Consultations and individually suited Payment Plans