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Child Abuse / Neglect

An allegation of child abuse is stressful and personal for everyone involved. Despite the emotional stigma behind these accusations, they are sometimes exaggerated or fabricated during custody battles. Charges of neglecting or abusing a child carry very serious consequences and depending on the severity of the crime, you could be facing decades of jail time or thousands of dollars in fines. This is in addition to potentially losing custody of your children and other penalties. These accusations can be very simple to make but difficult to fight, making legal aid imperative in defending your future.

Time is crucial in these cases, and everything that you say can be used against you. An attorney can skillfully guide you through the process of fighting your charges and use his or her knowledge to keep you informed of all of your options. It is important to enlist the aid of an experienced, skilled lawyer to defend you throughout this complex process.

Defuniak Springs Child Abuse Defense Attorney

The lawyers of Adkinson Law Firm, LLC have years of experience defending men and women charged with child abuse or neglect, as well as a range of other domestic violence offenses. They can help you through these difficult times with personal care and sensitivity. Emotions can run high in cases involving children, and you'll need a skilled attorney to ensure that you are treated fairly and your rights are protected. We know that this case will affect the rest of your life, and we are prepared to fight aggressively to defend you.

Call today to arrange your free consultation with us. We can formulate a customized defense for your unique circumstances in the Florida Panhandle, from Okaloosa County to Holmes County, Santa Rosa County, and Escambia County.

Definition of Child Abuse in Florida

According to Florida Statute § 827.03, an individual faces potential child abuse or neglect charges if they:

  • Inflict physical or mental harm to a child under 18 years of age;
  • Commit an intentional act that could be reasonably expected to cause harm;
  • Fail to protect a child from the abuse of another person;
  • Neglect a child with basic necessities for decent quality of life, such as food and shelter; or
  • Actively encourage a person to do any of the above actions.

The prosecution bears the burden of proof for establishing beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused engaged in one of these actions. Although child abuse allegations are often brought against parents that use corporal punishment on their children, simply spanking a child is not necessarily enough to warrant a charge of child abuse.

Penalties for Child Abuse in Florida

The consequences for a child abuse or neglect conviction vary depending on the severity of the harm done to the child.

If an individual has inflicted abuse on a child without causing great bodily harm or permanent disability, they face a third-degree felony. This is punishable by up to 5 years in jail and / or up to $5,000 in fines.

However, if the injury to the child is severe, the offense may be labeled as aggravated abuse and can be charged as a first-degree felony. This carries penalties of up to 30 years in prison and / or up to $10,000 in fines.

In the event of neglect, the accused faces a minimum of a third-degree felony carrying up to 5 years in jail and / or up to $500 in fines. If the neglect is severe enough to render permanent disability or serious injury, the charge may be raised to a second degree. This means sentences increase to up to 15 years in prison and / or up to $10,000 in fines.

In addition to jail time and fines, a conviction of child abuse can affect your life in other ways. Custody issues with your children will be drastically affected, and employment opportunities, housing, and educational prospects can be impacted as well.

Possible Defenses to Child Abuse Charges

An arrest for child abuse does not necessarily guarantee a conviction. A thorough lawyer may be able to create doubt as to prosecution's case by examining possibilities including:

  • Constitutional violations;
  • Lack of intent;
  • Improper procedures used by investigating law enforcement officers;
  • Insufficient evidence to prove the charges;
  • or
  • The offense was not willful.

These weaknesses in the prosecution's case are possible grounds for getting your charges reduced or dismissed. A skilled domestic violence defense lawyer can analyze your case for these kinds of advantages.

Adkinson Law Firm, LLC | Walton County Child Neglect Lawyer

If you're facing criminal charges of child abuse or neglect, we can help you fight the allegations. The DeFuniak Springs criminal defense attorneys at Adkinson Law Firm, LLC are experienced in domestic violence cases, and we can thoroughly analyze your individual case.

We proudly serve clients in the Florida Panhandle, including Destin, Freeport, Crestview, Niceville, and Bonifay. Call us today at or submit an online form to schedule your free consultation.