In Florida, child abuse means intentionally or recklessly causing a physical or mental injury to a minor under 18 years old. Additionally, any abuse toward a minor is considered child abuse and it doesn't matter if the alleged offender is a parent or family member.
Child abuse or neglect without serious injury is considered a third-degree felony, punishable by imprisonment for up to five years and a maximum fine of $5,000. Child abuse or neglect causing serious injury or permanent disability is a second-degree felony, which carries a maximum prison term of 15 years and a fine not exceeding $10,000.
Lastly, aggravated child abuse or neglect is a first-degree felony, punishable by imprisonment for up to 30 years and a maximum fine of $10,000. Common examples of aggravated battery on a child are malicious punishment, torture, or even caging or restraining a child in an inhumane manner.
However, it is important to understand parents, guardians, and even teachers have the right to reasonably discipline a child while under their care. As long as the discipline doesn't lead to serious injuries – rather than minor bruising – then parental privilege applies.
If you have been accused of child abuse, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer to help you avoid conviction and clear your name. At Malcolm Anthony, P.A., I can listen to your story, review your case, and determine your available legal options to ensure you obtain the most favorable outcome in court.
Contact my firm today at (904) 289-5577 to discuss your case in a confidential consultation. Serving clients in Jacksonville, Duval County, St. Johns County, and Clay County.