If you are arrested for Child Abuse in Jacksonville, you will need to consult with an experienced child abuse attorney as soon as possible. The Mussallem Law Firm, P.A. has represented hundreds of people charged with this felony. Child abuse cases tend to evoke the emotions of all the parties involved, including the police and the prosecutor. These emotions can cloud the truth and interfere with your rights.
In Florida, child abuse is defined as the intentional infliction of physical or mental injury on a child, an intentional act that could reasonably be expected to result in physical or mental injury on the child, or the active encouragement of a person to commit a child abuse. The state attorney must prove that you knowingly abused the child. If convicted of a child abuse that does not cause great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement, you are facing up to 5 years in prison because the child abuse is considered a third degree felony.
Often times, a child's school or day care center will report marks, bruises or abrasions to the Department of Children and Families. The Department will begin an investigation and will always contact the police department in the county the child is located in. The police will begin a separate investigation of their own. Even if the Department concludes there was no intentional child abuse, the police can make an arrest if they choose. The opposite is also true. If the police department decides not to make an arrest, the Department can keep the "abusive" parent out of the home and away from the child or children. While the two investigations (DCF and police) are related, they are completely separate.
An “Aggravated Child Abuse” occurs when a suspect commits an aggravated battery on a child, willfully tortures, maliciously punishes, willfully cages, or in the course of committing the child abuse, the suspect causes great bodily harm, permanent disability or permanent disfigurement. If you are convicted of aggravated child abuse, the maximum punishment is 30 years in prison because it is considered a first degree felony.
Child Neglect is a felony in Florida that is related to Child Abuse. The crime of child neglect is committed if a caregiver fails to provide a child with the care and supervision necessary to keep the child physically and mentally safe. Examples of things necessary for children are food, clothes, shelter, supervision, medicine and anything a reasonable person would consider essential. Child neglect can be committed just once or repeatedly. If the neglect does not cause great bodily harm, the neglect is considered a third degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison. If the child is harmed, the offender is facing a second degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor is another criminal charge in Jacksonville associated with Child Abuse. A contributing crime occurs when someone commits any act that causes or encourages a child to become a delinquent or when someone induces a child to commit any act that tends to cause the child to become or remain a dependent or delinquent. Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor is a first degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail.
Any accusation involving children is serious and requires a serious Jacksonville Child Abuse Attorney. Contact Victoria "Tori" Mussallem today to discuss your case. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at (904) 365-5200.