Child Abuse Neglect

Charges for child abuse or neglect can be brought forth easily, despite any evidence you may have to the contrary. Lack of scientific evidence or facts proving your guilt may not stop the prosecution. The Florida Department of Children and Family Services is obligated to investigate these charges. The Florida state prosecutor may also use details such as inconsistencies during interviews, statements, and medical examinations to prove their case, even with available alternative explanations.

Your first instinct may be to try and prove your innocence to investigators or the prosecution. However, keep in mind that they will use anything you say to prove your guilt, no matter the circumstances of the situation. It is in your best interests to remain silent and consult with an experienced child abuse defense attorney who can fight to defend your future and that of your family from these charges.

Jacksonville Child Abuse Defense Lawyer

Bill Roelke is an experienced domestic violence attorney who is passionate about keeping families together. He fights hard for men and women facing false or exaggerated charges of child abuse in Northeastern Florida. Furthermore, he understands that sometimes child protection investigators will make a snap judgment if any mark is left of a child, regardless of how it may have occurred. Bill Roelke’s experience and attention-to-detail can prove invaluable in finding weaknesses in the prosecution’s case against you. He represents mothers and fathers in Jacksonville, Jacksonville Beach, Fernandina Beach, Atlantic Beach, Orange Park, and the surrounding areas.

Call (904) 354-0333 or send an online message to review your case personally with Bill Roelke. He will help you understand your legal options after carefully listening to the specific details surrounding your case. It’s important to remember that an arrest for child abuse does not necessarily mean that conviction will follow or that child protective services will intervene – especially if you contact a defense attorney before the prosecution can build a case against you.

Elements Involved in Proving Child Abuse

Depending on the circumstances surrounding the alleged child abuse, this can be punished as a misdemeanor or felony. However, the burden of proof falls on the prosecution to prove that the defendant did the following beyond all reasonable doubt:

  • Inflicted physical or mental injury on a child under 18 years of age; and
  • Committed an intentional act that could be reasonably expected to result in physical or mental injury to a child under 18 years of age; or
  • Actively encouraged another person to commit an act that resulted in physical or mental injury to a child, or could reasonably be expected to result in such injury to a child less than 18 years of age.

Penalties for Child Abuse Under Florida Statute § 827.03

A person can be charged with a third degree felony offense if he or she knowingly or willfully abuses a child without causing serious bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement. This is punishable with up to 5 years in prison and / or a fine up to $5,000.

However, a person can be charged with aggravated child abuse if he or she:

  • Commits aggravated battery to a child;
  • Willfully tortures, maliciously punishes, or willfully and unlawfully imprisons a child; or
  • Knowingly or willfully abuses a child, causing serious bodily injury, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to the child in the process.

Aggravated child abuse is a first degree felony offense. This can be punished with up to 30 years in prison and / or a fine up to $10,000.

Definition and Penalties for Child Neglect in Duval County, FL

Under Florida Statute § 827.03, neglect of a child can occur when:

  • A caregiver fails to provide a child with the care, supervision, and services necessary to maintain the child’s physical and mental well-being. This may include food, nutrition, clothes, shelter, supervision, and medical attention among others.
  • A caregiver fails to make a reasonable effort to protect a child from the abuse, neglect, or exploitation by another person.

A person who willfully neglects a child and therefore causes serious bodily injury, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to the child can be charged with a second degree felony. This is punishable with up to 15 years in prison and / or a fine up to $10,000.

If the neglect to the child did not result in serious bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement, the offender can be charged with a third degree felony. This can be punished with up to 5 years in prison and / or a fine up to $500.

Roelke Law, P.A. | Child Neglect Arrest in Duval County, FL

If you are facing charges of child abuse or neglect, it’s important to act quickly in order to prevent the Florida Department of Children and Family Services from taking drastic measures. Defense attorney Bill Roelke understands your stress and severe concern for your family’s future. He represents adults throughout Duval County, St. Johns County, Nassau County, and Clay County throughout all aspects of their case. Call (904) 354-0333 for a free and honest review of your defense options from these damaging accusations.

Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney Blog - Child Abuse and Neglect

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