Florida Child Endangerment Lawyer

No one wants to be accused of hurting a child. It is an accusation that comes with severe consequences. In addition to criminal penalties, these accusations can impact custody cases, affect your ability to get a job, and seriously damage your reputation. 

Unfortunately, no parent or caregiver can be completely safe from these accusations. It is easy for outsiders to misinterpret scenarios and report child abuse, neglect, or endangerment where there was none. Plus, even great parents can make mistakes, and criminalizing the behavior rarely helps the parent or the children. A Florida child endangerment lawyer can help you navigate the criminal charges and the related issues they can cause. Get in touch with an experienced criminal defense attorney today to discuss your case.

Child Abuse

Florida Statutes § 827 discusses child abuse, aggravated child abuse, and neglect. Collectively, these crimes are known as child endangerment as they can expose a child to potential harm. The difference is the intent and level of willfulness behind each action. 

Child abuse involves intentionally harming a child. However, a defendant does not have to cause the harm personally. Actively encouraging child abuse or placing a child in a situation where one could reasonably anticipate harm to the child are other forms of abuse. 

Aggravated child abuse generally refers to more severe physical or mental injuries. It includes aggravated battery, permanent disability, permanent disfigurement, and great bodily harm. Additionally, a defendant’s attitude during the event can lead to these charges. Someone who maliciously or willfully tortures, punishes, or cages a child commits aggravated child abuse. 

Both abuse and aggravated abuse are felonies. However, abuse is not always malicious. Some parents abuse children inadvertently or because they lack appropriate parenting skills. A skilled child endangerment lawyer in Florida could review the allegations against a defendant and craft a solid case in their defense.

Child Neglect

Neglect also exposes children to harm. People might think of it as a lesser type of child abuse. However, neglect can still threaten a child’s physical and mental health as severely as direct physical abuse. 

Neglect refers to a caregiver’s failure to meet a child’s needs—supervision, food, clothing, shelter, and medical services. While this may seem straightforward, the reality is that parents have access to different resources. 

A Florida child endangerment attorney will consider the family resources. If the neglect resulted from a lack of resources, the solution is not to prosecute the caregiver. The real solution is to help them gain access to those resources. 

Another vital issue is religion. Failure to provide medication or medical care are two types of neglect. However, some religions are against these medical interventions, and the First Amendment protects the freedom of religion. Religious freedom may be a valid defense against child neglect allegations.

DCF Involvement

Most abuse cases involve the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF). DCF is not a law enforcement agency, but they have investigators who examine child abuse allegations. These investigators can remove children from the home, recommend charges against abusers, and initiate actions to terminate parental rights. 

Family reunification should be the goal of most DCF investigations. Even if a parent has abused a child, the goal is to teach them to be a better parent so that they can safely parent the child. That is because family disruption can be more detrimental to the child than some types of child abuse. 

A dedicated child endangerment attorney in Florida can help parents pursue reunification and help clients access resources such as parenting classes, rehab, and domestic violence prevention programs. Their goal is to make the entire family healthier and get the criminal charges dismissed or reduced. 

Contact a Florida Child Endangerment Attorney for Help

Child abuse accusations are always severe. They have the potential for lengthy criminal sentences, ruined reputations, and family disruption. Even if a parent does not think that their actions were abusive, it is essential to get help from a Florida child endangerment lawyer. Schedule a consultation today to learn more.