Child Abuse or Neglect
Even being accused of child abuse is a very scary prospect for anyone. While most cases involve the parents, oftentimes it may be as result of battery or neglect of a child in your care, or even a common juvenile aggressor. It can come from day care workers, grandparents, school workers, church, and a host of other people are often accused of child abuse. Prosecutors are very aggressive in charging these offenses on people and may often over-charge a person merely because the alleged victim is a child. (It should be noted that a “child” is defined as anyone under the age of 18) Certainly, no one wishes any child to be abused, but when you are accused of such an act, it is most important to get representation as soon as possible. Once convicted of such a charge, one will experience a lifetime of being branded as a child abuser, both under the law, as well as with friends, family, and co-workers.
Child abuse has different levels of seriousness. Contributing to the delinquency is the lowest possible offense and is now the only misdemeanor available for child abuse charges. Neglect is generally the next step up in seriousness, and felony neglect is still a third degree felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison, when no great bodily harm has resulted. A common scenario that has become popular for prosecutors to charge is Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs (DUI) with a child or children in the vehicle, and then charging the person with “Felony Neglect of a Child.” It should be noted that if great bodily harm, disfigurement, or permanent disability results from the neglect, then the felony is enhanced to a second degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. To make matters worse, a new count is added for EACH child, meaning that if there are several children in the car, then a person could now be looking at 30, 45, or even more years in prison. It can become a first degree felony, punishable by up to 30 years prison if it is considered aggravated child abuse. This occurs if the child is tortured, battered, caged, or maliciously punished and causes great bodily harm, disability, or disfigurement to the minor child.
Even if there are just simple battery related charges on a child, that don’t result in serious injury, then it is still a third degree felony. This can happen when disciplining a child too hard, for example, and bruising or broken skin occurs. However, disciplining your own child is perfectly legal so long as it is reasonable. This fine line is where it is important to talk to an attorney about your circumstances.
Hiring an experienced child abuse attorney should be your first step when accused of child abuse. A child abuse conviction can result in everything from probation, fines, counseling, and likely jail or prison. Further, restitution can also be ordered for both physical and emotional damages.
Pinellas and Hillsborough child abuse lawyer Craig Epifanio will give superior representation for child abuse cases. Attorney Epifanio is highly qualified when defending those accused of child abuse crimes. Even if you are falsely accused, Mr. Epifanio will investigate the child abuse charges against you and will make every attempt to clear your name. Attorney Epifanio will discuss the best defenses for your situation in order to bring you the best outcome for your child abuse case.