Child Abuse Defense Lawyer
Criminal child abuse charges have the potential to tear a family apart. These charges require the careful attention of a dedicated defense lawyer who has successfully resolved similar cases. Any person who faces child abuse charges enters a hostile criminal justice system which will paint him or her as a villain from mere allegations. This is because over 3 million children suffer from child abuse each year in the United States.
State governments throughout the country strive to fight child abuse every way they can, meaning that an investigation into child abuse allegations will be thorough and aggressive. Several entities will push you to make a statement regarding the accusations against you, but you are strongly urged to remain silent until you acquire competent legal counsel to defend child abuse charges in West Palm Beach.
Understanding Child Abuse in West Palm Beach
Florida Statute §827.03(2)(c) describes child abuse as an intentional act that can harm a child physically or psychologically, or an act that could be expected to cause harm to a child. It may also be the active encouragement of any person to commit an act that results or could reasonably be expected to result in physical or mental injury to a child.
Child abuse does not have to come from a parent, legal guardian, or other person entrusted with the child’s well-being; what might constitute a misdemeanor battery on an adult victim can be charged as felony child abuse if the victim is under 18 years of age.
Many actions may constitute child abuse in Florida. Actions that invoke child abuse, neglect, or the exploitation of children include:
- Failing to provide the child with proper supervision, food, water, medicine
- Failing to protect the child from abuse, exploitation or harm
- Leaving the child unattended in a vehicle
- Maliciously inflicting physical or mental pain on the child
What Happens if I am Convicted of Child Abuse?
In Florida, child abuse is at best a third-degree felony offense which can lead to:
- 5 years in prison and/or
- 5 years of probation and/or
- A fine of $5,000
Additionally, a conviction will lead to civilian consequences if you work in certain professions involving children, such as education or healthcare. You will likely lose your professional license and be prevented from working in your industry again. In some cases, you may be stripped of your parental rights. An attorney with decades of experience defending difficult charges like Brian Gabriel may be able to help you keep your professional license as he works to carve a strong defense.
What to Do if I Face Child Abuse Charges?
Child abuse charges are among the most difficult to stand up to because prosecutors do not budge when they believe a child has been put in harm’s way. It’s crucial to understand that the less you speak about your case, the better your defense will be. Several parties are required to report any indication of abuse to authorities, so you must resist speaking to them about the allegations against you, even if you believe that telling your side of the story will clear your name. These people include:
- Department of Children and Families workers
- Mental health professionals
- Social workers
- Physicians and other healthcare professionals
- Teachers and other school personnel
- Police officers
Anyone can report child abuse for the most frivolous circumstances. Florida prosecutors take all complaints seriously, regardless of how questionable they may seem. Each case of child abuse is unique and involves the experience of a seasoned criminal defense attorney. Look to The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel to discuss your case for free. We have over 30 years of experience serving those accused of criminal offenses throughout Palm Beach County. Call 561-622-5575 or email us a description of your case.