What Are the Penalties for Child Abuse in Florida?

Are you being accused of child abuse? Perhaps you're in the middle of a divorce and your spouse is accusing you of child abuse in an effort to gain full custody of the kids. Or, perhaps a school official or doctor called the authorities on you after suspecting abuse.

Regardless of the circumstances that led to your accusations, child abuse charges are a serious matter, especially in Florida. Under Section 827.03 of the Florida Statutes, child abuse is a felony offense. This means that a conviction would result in a prison sentence, thousands in fines, and a felony conviction on your criminal record.

Additionally, Section 790.23 states that anyone who has been convicted of a felony cannot possess, control, or own any firearm, ammunition, electric weapon or device. This means that if you are convicted of child abuse, you lose your right to bear arms.

Florida's Definition of 'Child Abuse'

Under Florida law, child abuse is defined as the intentional infliction of physical or mental injury upon a child, or it is an "intentional" act that could result in physical or mental injury to a child.

A person can also be convicted of child abuse if he or she encourages someone else to commit an act against a child that could result in physical or mental injury.

Child abuse offenses, include:

  • Aggravated child abuse – a felony of the first degree
  • Child neglect resulting in great bodily harm or permanent disability – felony of the second degree
  • Child abuse without great bodily harm – felony of the third degree
  • Child neglect without causing great bodily harm – felony of the third degree

To illustrate, if a person is found guilty of abusing a child without causing great bodily harm – a felony of the third degree – he or she faces up to 5 years in prison, and a $10,000 fine.

Accused of child abuse? Get a former prosecutor on your side!

If you're being accused of child abuse, you have a lot at stake; you could even lose custody of your kids. Get a West Palm Beach criminal defense attorney who is a former prosecutor on your side! Contact my firm, The Law Offices of Phillip T. Ridolfo, Jr. to schedule your free initial consultation!


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