Criminal offenses in the State of Florida are generally split into one of two categories. First, there are offenses that criminalize and punish nonviolent and non-dangerous conduct. Unfortunately, minor drug offenses like possession of cannabis are still criminally punishable in our State and people suffer the consequences of our governments decision to continue prosecuting nonviolent drug offenses every day. Even more ridiculously, people who cannot afford to reinstate their licenses because of hefty traffic fines, accident liability, and child support can face criminal penalties for driving with a suspended license. Criminal offenses like that punish people for being poor, something that the criminal justice system needs to move away from. And our state harshly punishes people that are convicted of crimes like prostitution, even though they are generally victimless crimes.
The second category includes crimes that are morally wrong. These are the types of crime that are put in place to actually punish wrongdoing instead of to generate revenue for the state or to disenfranchise poor people and minorities. Offenses like murder, sexual battery, and theft fall into this category. Society in general has a shared desire to prohibit and punish conduct falling under those offense descriptions. Among those morally wrong criminal offenses are offenses against children. Sexual battery on a minor, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and aggravated child abuse are the types of crimes that are severely punished by our criminal justice system. Child neglect is an offense that punishes harm to children that is caused by negligence rather than purposeful or willful conduct. If you have been charged with or investigated for any type of crime against a child, you should consult with a dedicated Sarasota criminal defense lawyer right away.Elements of Child Neglect
Child neglect along with several other crimes against children is prohibited by Florida Statute 827.03. The statute makes it a crime to commit child abuse, aggravated child abuse, or child neglect. Child abuse is defined as the intentional infliction of either emotional or mental injury to a child. Aggravated child abuse is the willful torture, malicious punishment or caging of a child. A person can also be charged with aggravated child abuse if the abuse results in great bodily harm to a child. Child abuse and aggravated child abuse are “willful” offenses, which means that prosecutors must prove that the defendant intentionally, rather than negligently caused harm to a child.
Child neglect on the other hand, punishes conduct that is not necessarily willful, making a much broader range of conduct punishable under the criminal law. Child neglect is defined as a caregiver’s (parent or legal guardian) failure or omission to provide a child with necessary care including but not limited to food, nutrition, shelter, clothing, adequate supervision, medicine, and adequate medical care. If the omission or neglect results in harm to a child, the caregiver can be convicted of child neglect. The penalties for this type of offense can be severe and it is treated seriously by judges and prosecutors. If you are charged you should not hesitate to speak to a dedicated Sarasota criminal defense lawyer about your options.
Child neglect can carry significant punishments that can be enhanced depending on the facts of the case. If the alleged neglect results in harm that is not serious to a child, the defendant can be convicted of a third degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison or probation. If the prosecution proves that great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement happened as a result of the neglect, then the defendant could face second degree felony penalties, maxing out at fifteen years in prison.Speak to Our Lawyers Today
The attorneys at Hanlon Law will fight zealously for the best outcome for your case. Don’t hesitate to consult with a dedicated Sarasota criminal defense lawyer today at 941.462.1789.