Do Not Go Through Court Proceedings Alone
If you have been charged with child endangerment or any form of child abuse or aggravated child abuse, you need an experienced lawyer to defend you now. The courts take crimes against children extremely seriously, and many of your freedoms are at stake if you are convicted. All cases regarding child endangerment in the state of Florida are felony charges, meaning that a conviction will affect the rest of your life. You will not be able to expunge it from your record if you are convicted, and it will be visible to anyone searching public records.
Child endangerment charges, otherwise known as child neglect, will most likely lead to the loss of custody of your children if you are convicted. You may be banned from seeing them while the trial proceeds, even if you are innocent. They can end up in the foster system if there is not another adult able to adequately care for them, which can be scary for you and your children alike.
Do not allow the courts to take your children away from you. Hire a lawyer for child endangerment charges as soon as you are arrested or served with a warrant. Every day that passes is a day lost that an aggressive defense team, such as Weinstein Legal, could be fighting to win your case.
Many individuals believe that because they are innocent, they do not need a domestic violence attorney in South Florida to represent them. They think that the courts will recognize their innocence and dismiss their case. Often, this is untrue. You must hire a lawyer to fight aggressively on your behalf.
What Constitutes Child Endangerment in Florida?
Child endangerment covers a broad scope of actions under Florida law. You may be charged with child endangerment if it is deemed that you have failed to provide a child with adequate care. The term “care” encompasses a wide variety of factors.
Nutrition and food, proper clothing, safe housing, adequate supervision, and providing the appropriate medical services to a child in need are all covered under the law. Furthermore, you may face child endangerment charges if you fail to report or protect a child from abuse by another person. Additionally, if you are found to have knowingly and willingly put a child in a dangerous situation, you may face charges.
You may be charged with child endangerment in regards to any child that is in your primary care at the time of the incident, whether or not they are your child. What this means is that any child you are babysitting or caring for in a school setting, or daycare is your primary responsibility for that designated time. If they are determined to be endangered while in your care, you may be arrested and charged.
As many of these aspects are subjective and may be falsely reported without the full context of the situation, you must hire a child endangerment lawyer to help build a defense.
It is important to note that child endangerment charges may be considered an act of domestic violence. Violent charges reflect just as poorly on your record and can severely limit your future freedoms.
Penalties for Child Endangerment in Florida
In the state of Florida, all child endangerment charges are felonies, and the penalties are steep. You may face fines that amount to thousands of dollars as well as years in prison. If you are convicted, it is almost certain that you will lose custody of your children or be banned from contact with the child you are charged with neglecting.
Once you lose custody, several things may happen. You may not be allowed to have any contact with your child at all, or you may be restricted to supervised visits with a trusted family member or social worker. It will be up to the courts to determine visitation stipulations, as well as the time-frame for a no-contact order. If there are other children in your care, they may also be taken out of your custody even if the charges did not pertain to them.
Felony charges remain on your record in the state of Florida permanently. You must report them on most job applications, to housing authorities, and when applying for specific professional licenses and purchasing firearms. Depending on the case, you may not be able to have the charge expunged in the future, which means that it will follow you permanently.
For this reason, you must hire a lawyer for child endangerment charges to represent you. Many of your freedoms are at stake, and it can make a difference for the rest of your life.
Aggravated Child Abuse
Child abuse crimes in Florida can be charged as aggravated child abuse under Florida Statute § 827.03(2)(a).
- Commits aggravated battery on a child
- Willfully tortures a child
- Maliciously punishes a child
- Willfully and unlawfully cages a child
- Willfully or knowingly abuse a child and cause bodily harm
- Willfully or knowingly cause permanent disfigurement to a child
- Willfully or knowingly cause permanent disability to a child
Defenses for Child Endangerment Charges in Florida
Several arguments can help build your case, and a child endangerment attorney will know precisely how to argue your case in a court of law. It is common for those charged with child endangerment to be falsely accused.
Sometimes, an angry spouse or co-parent or persons involved in a custody battle seek to prove that the opposing side has committed child endangerment in an attempt to win custody. Other times, cases are reported by others who mean well but do not know the full situation. Either way, the Department of Family and Child Services will get involved and conduct an investigation. If their findings rule against you, it will result in a criminal charge.
A child endangerment lawyer will help collect evidence to prove you are not a danger to the child. There are many ways to do this. Often, witnesses and those close to the person being charged are called to testify as character witnesses. These are people that will make statements in court substantiating that you do not neglect or endanger your child and are a responsible caregiver.
Additionally, it must be proved that you knowingly endangered your child, or were competent to understand that you were doing so. If this cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, you can not be convicted.
As it is possible to have felony charges expunged from your record if the case is dismissed or the charges dropped, it is crucial to hire a child endangerment attorney. Doing so allows you to have the charges erased from your record in the future, clearing your name.
Seeking Legal Representation
Child endangerment and child neglect charges are a serious matter that can result in a lengthy investigation by the Department of Child and Family Services and on-going involvement with the agency. The goal is always to protect the child and ensure that they are being cared for appropriately. It is imperative to hire a child endangerment lawyer that will fight aggressively to prove your innocence. Doing so can help you avoid loss of custody, prison time, significant fines, and many other obstacles you will face if convicted.
Do not wait to contact a domestic violence attorney in South Florida if you are charged with child endangerment, even if you know you are innocent. Contact Weinstein Legal today for a free case evaluation.