Jacksonville Child Abuse & Neglect Defense Lawyer

There are few crimes Florida police and prosecutors take more seriously than child abuse and neglect. If you’ve been charged with child abuse, aggravated child abuse, or neglect of a child in the Jacksonville area, it’s in your best interest to speak with an experienced child abuse defense attorney as soon as possible. 

Attorney Matthew Lufrano has extensive experience with such offenses and the options a defendant has to address them, from negotiating favorable plea agreements to fighting criminal charges at trial. Mr. Lufrano understands the importance of a strong child abuse defense and offers free consultations to those charged with criminal offenses in and around Duval County. You can schedule yours right now by calling 904-513-3905 or filling out the contact form on this site.

Florida Child Abuse and Neglect Crimes

Under Fla. Stat. §827.03, there are three separate child abuse and neglect crimes: 

Child Abuse

Child abuse is a felony of the third degree, which is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

Florida law defines child abuse as: 

  • Intentionally inflicting physical or mental injury upon a child, or
  • Committing an intentional act that could reasonably be expected to result in physical or mental injury to a child, or
  • Actively encouraging another person to commit an act that results in or could reasonably be expected to result in physical or mental injury to the child

Note that you can be guilty of child abuse even if the harm was unintended, so long as the act was in injury to the child. It’s also important to remember that a person can commit the offense of child abuse without ever engaging in physical violence. Likewise, it is possible to be found guilty of child abuse even if you did not physically participate in the act that harmed or could reasonably have been expected to harm the child. 

Furthermore due to the various ways in which child abuse can be alleged and charged its important to have an experienced and dilligent defense attorney on your side. So if you or a loved one are facing a charge of child abuse don’t wait, call the firm of Lufrano Legal, P.A. today at 904-513-3905

Aggravated Child Abuse

In Florida, aggravated child abuse is a felony of the first degree.  That means a person convicted of this offense faces a prison sentence of up to 30 years and a fine of up to $10,000. 

Aggravated child abuse is defined as: 

  • Committing aggravated battery on a child, or
  • Willfully torturing, maliciously punishing, or willfully and unlawfully caging a child, or
  • Knowingly and willfully abusing a child resulting in great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement

Depending on the accused’s previous criminal history, the consequences could be even more severe. In particular, if a person qualifies as a prison release reoffender under Florida statute 775.082(9) they may be looking at a mandatory sentence of 30 years in prison. Additionally, aggravated child abuse is a qualifying offense for purposes of Florida’s habitual felony offender statute and for purposes of determining a person a violent career criminal. 

While knowledgeable guidance and fierce advocacy is important in any criminal proceeding, the extreme high stakes in an aggravated child abuse case make it all the more important to seek out an experienced child abuse lawyer immediately. 

Neglect of a Child

Child neglect in Florida is defined as a caregiver:

  • Failing or omitting to provide a child with the care, supervision, and services necessary to maintain physical and mental health, or
  • Failing to make a reasonable effort to protect the child from abuse, neglect, or exploitation by another person

The care, supervision, and services necessary to maintain a child’s physical and mental health include (but are not limited to) providing adequate food, nutrition, clothing, shelter, supervision, medication, and medical services. 

An experienced child neglect defense lawyer will tell you that neglect cases can be complicated. That’s because there may be disagreement, even among experts, about whether the defendant’s actions were in line with what a “reasonably prudent person” would consider essential for the child’s welfare. 

Child neglect cases can be even more complicated when the accused is a victim of domestic violence. The risk of child abuse or neglect in homes where domestic violence occurs is nine to 15 times as high as the national average. Often, victims of domestic abuse feel powerless to protect their children, or unable to leave the abusive relationship. But, these victims are sometimes charged with child neglect. 

Talk to a Jacksonville Child Abuse Lawyer Right Away

Depending on the type of charges you’re facing, a child abuse or neglect conviction could result in significant jail time–even if you didn’t intend the harm. In many cases, other crimes are charged along with child abuse, aggravated child abuse, or neglect of a child charge. 

It’s important that you fully understand the possible consequences of a conviction as early as possible, so you can make informed decisions about how to fight the charges against you. An experienced child abuse defense lawyer like Matthew Lufrano can be your best resource. To learn more, just call 904-513-3905 or fill out the contact form on this site.