Many of the laws in Florida’s criminal code aim to protect vulnerable members of society. In some instances, these include children who are unable to defend themselves or remove themselves from dangerous situations. Even if no direct harm comes to a child, the law still allows police officers to arrest individuals who place kids in harm’s way. Even the most innocent situation involving a child can be misinterpreted to be child abuse or child neglect, and anyone can accuse a parent of either of these crimes. A neighbor, a schoolteacher, or even an ex-spouse can call police about an incident he or she thinks is abuse. This is where a skilled domestic violence attorney could help.
These situations can result in charges related to the abuse or neglect of a child. Even relatively minor incidents are felonies in the eyes of the law where a conviction has a permanent impact on your life. Consulting with an Orlando child endangerment lawyer could be the first step towards building an effective defense.
The most serious examples of child endangerment in Orlando are those that allege the intentional harming of a child. According to Florida Statute § 827.03, this child abuse involves the intentional infliction of physical or mental harm to a child. It can also include the encouragement of another person to inflict these injuries. However, it does not need to result in substantial harm in order to be considered a crime. Convictions under this statute are felonies of the third degree that can come with a maximum prison sentence of five years.
Even more concerning are allegations involving severe bodily harm on a child. If this harm was the product of the intentional acts of an adult, this charge is a felony of the second degree.
The harshest allegations are those that allege aggravated battery on a child or incidents that result in the intentional infliction of severe bodily or mental harm on a kid. These are examples of aggravated child abuse and are felonies of the first degree under state law. Convictions can bring prison sentences of up to 30 years. An Orlando child endangerment attorney is prepared to assist individuals facing charges related to the alleged endangerment of a child.
Once a report is made, the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) will send an investigator to the family’s home. The DCF investigator has the power to remove the child from the home and even begin a court action to terminate parental rights. The job of a child endangerment attorney on Orlando is to make sure the state does not dissolve families.
There are exceptions to the Florida child abuse statute, such as disciplinary actions. If someone’d child was taken wrongly, a lawyer could help get them back. If the state has evidence of child abuse, a lawyer could help someone take steps to address parenting issues, such as enrolling in parenting classes. If it is a first offense, enrollment in a diversion program could get the case dropped.
There is no doubt that causing intentional harm to a child can result in severe consequences. In addition, merely placing a kid in a situation that is dangerous can give police probable cause to make an arrest. However, these charges can be cloudy and open to interpretation. A parent may think that a 12-year child who is responsible and a good student can be left at home while they go to the gym to work out. However, if police are called to the home for some reason, the parent may be arrested for child neglect and labeled a criminal.
Another clear example of endangerment is allowing a child to remain in a state of neglect. Failing to provide proper food, clothing, shelter, or supervision may result in allegations of neglect. These offenses are examples of felonies of the third degree.
Allegations of child endangerment may also result from a traffic stop. People with children in the car have a duty under the law to ensure they are protected, which includes proper seat restraint. If someone drives in a way that endangers passengers, they may face reckless driving charges under FL Stat. § 316.192, even if no actual harm comes to the child. Consulting with an Orlando child endangerment lawyer could help a defendant better understand the laws that aim to punish people who place children in dangerous situations.
Protecting children is one of the primary goals of the criminal justice system. Not only can police arrest those who are accused of causing actual harm to children, but they may even arrest you if they suspect that you have placed a child in a situation that raises the serious risk of harm. This can lead to complex legal situations that require the help of an attorney.
An Orlando child endangerment lawyer may be able to help you after an arrest. Whether this includes allegations of intentional abuse or neglect, or situations that could become dangerous, an attorney fights to protect your rights and freedoms. Schedule an appointment with us today to learn more.
The Umansky Law Firm Criminal Defense & Injury Attorneys