Child abuse includes any type of cruelty or violence against a child. For example, it may include neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, or mental abuse. Sometimes prosecutors also charge assault and battery in connection with these cases. There are numerous people who are mandated to report suspected child abuse, including teachers and doctors. However, their suspicions are not always correct. It is important to fight child abuse or aggravated child abuse charges, since they can have significant consequences if you are convicted. If you are accused of child abuse, you should contact Bradenton child abuse lawyer Will Hanlon at Hanlon Law. He takes pride in fighting for the rights of defendants.Protect Your Rights Against an Allegation of Child Abuse
In order to obtain a conviction for child abuse, a prosecutor must show: (1) an intentional perpetration of a mental or physical injury on a child, (2) an intentional act that could reasonably be expected to cause a mental or physical injury to a child, or (3) active encouragement of somebody else who causes a mental or physical injury to a child. Moreover, a prosecutor may obtain a conviction for aggravated child abuse if they can show that:
- You committed aggravated battery on a child;
- You willfully tortured, maliciously punished, or unlawfully and willfully caged a child; or
- You willfully or knowingly abused a child and in doing so caused permanent disfigurement, permanent disability, or great bodily harm to a child.
“Maliciously” under the statute means intentional, wrongful conduct that does not have a legal justification or excuse. A prosecutor can establish that your actions were malicious by showing circumstances from which somebody could conclude that a reasonable parent would not have committed the damaging acts toward his or her child for any legitimate reason, and the primary goal of the acts was to cause the child unjustifiable injury or pain. This is a challenging standard to meet, and a child abuse attorney can help Bradenton residents vigorously fight this type of charge.
There are several offenses that fall under the category of child abuse: child abuse, aggravated child abuse, and neglect. Aggravated child abuse is a first-degree felony. A conviction for aggravated child abuse is punishable by up to 30 years in prison, 30 years of probation, and a $10,000 fine. However, aggravated child abuse can be charged against anyone whose conduct meets the elements of the charge. Being a parent is not a prerequisite for being charged with aggravated child abuse. Sometimes a prosecutor may decide to charge felony battery rather than aggravated child abuse; felony battery is a slightly less serious charge.
Neglect of a child that causes great bodily harm, permanent disfigurement, or permanent disability is a second-degree felony. Neglect refers to a caregiver not providing a minor with the services, supervision, or care needed to maintain the minor’s mental and physical health. For example, not taking your child to the doctor or providing him with insufficient food and supervision would be neglect. Neglect can also include a caregiver not making reasonable efforts to protect a child from abuse, exploitation, or neglect by somebody else. Second-degree felonies can be punished by a maximum of 15 years in prison, 15 years on probation, and a $10,000 fine, so retaining a Bradenton child abuse attorney is critical in attempting to avoid these harsh penalties. Neglect is only charged against people with a caregiver relationship to a child.
Knowing or willful abuse that does not cause permanent disfigurement, permanent disability, or great bodily harm is a third-degree felony. Willful or culpable negligence resulting in neglect of a child without causing permanent disfigurement, permanent disability, or great bodily harm can also be punished as a third-degree felony.Hire a Child Abuse Lawyer in the Bradenton Area
While children should not face abuse, there are many situations that are borderline, or in which a vindictive parent or other mandated reporter makes a report for inappropriate reasons. However, while child abuse is a very serious charge, it can sometimes be less serious than other potential charges that a prosecutor could bring. Will Hanlon can work to find an appropriate defense strategy for your case. It is important to retain an attorney as soon as you realize that you are being investigated. Often, the early involvement of an experienced criminal defense attorney can make a huge difference to the outcome of a case. Will Hanlon has aggressively and knowledgeably represented the accused in cases involving child abuse, domestic violence, and similarly fraught situations since 1994. Call Hanlon Law at 941.253.0254 or contact us through our online form.