Child Abuse & Neglect Offenses
Trust the criminal defense attorneys of SLG Law with your child abuse or child neglect case. Good people often find themselves accused of abuse or neglect of vulnerable people in their care. Whether it's a child, a disabled adult, or an elderly person, abuse and neglect allegations can have a devastating effect on the person accused. Just the allegations alone are crushing. Many times, law enforcement bases their allegations on circumstantial evidence or speculation on the part of doctors, counselors, and mental health professionals. Once you are in the system, it is very difficult to get out. The partners at SLG Law have vast experience dealing with all kinds of abuse and neglect allegations. Give us a call today to discuss your case.
What is the difference between child abuse and child neglect?
Child abuse is a very general and overreaching crime in the State of Florida. It not only encompasses what we all think of when we think of child abuse, which is the physical harming of a child, but it also encompasses an act that could reasonably be expected to result in physical or mental injury, or an act of encouraging another to commit an act of child abuse. For example, a parent cheering on his or her son during a neighborhood fistfight could be charged with child abuse for simply encouraging the child. A parent could be charged with child abuse by driving in a reckless manner while the child is not in a seat belt. There is virtually no limit to the actions that the State could argue fall under the child abuse statute.
Child Neglect deals with failing to provide the proper care to a child in his or her custody, including supervision, care, food, shelter, etc. You must be a caregiver to the child to be charged with child neglect. You do not have to be a caregiver to be charged with child abuse. So, if you are 18 years old and you strike a person that is 17 years old, you could be charged with child abuse.
What do I do if DCF is investigating me?
You should be extremely careful if you are under investigation by the Florida Department of Children and Family Services (DCF). DCF is tasked with investigating the welfare of children. They can institute legal proceedings that deal with the placement of children and the access that a parent or caregiver can have to that child. They can use results of a DCF investigation to prosecute a person in criminal court. Therefore, there is an inherent conflict when there is a DCF investigation and a criminal investigation. You have a right to remain silent and not incriminate yourself when under investigation for a crime. You do not have those same rights when it comes to keeping custody of your children. If you refuse to cooperate with a DCF investigation, it could negatively impact your ability to have access to the children. But if you do cooperate, they can use your statements against you in the criminal case. If you are under investigation by DCF based on allegations that you committed a sexual offense, contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer with specific experience handling sex offense cases. That attorney should be able to help you navigate through both the dependency court and the criminal court.
Please click a link below to learn more about the various abuse and neglect laws in the State of Florida.