By Luz Root

child abuse charges in florida

On Aug 15th, 2022  a woman in Flagler County was arrested after being accused of shaving a child’s head, writing derogatory words on her face and shoving a metal bar in her mouth. Disciplining a child is allowed in Florida, however, going too far may result in criminal charges for Child Abuse or Aggravated Child Abuse.

Florida Statute defines child abuse as:

827.03 Abuse, aggravated abuse, and neglect of a child; penalties.—

(1) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term:

(a) “Aggravated child abuse” occurs when a person:

1. Commits aggravated battery on a child;

2. Willfully tortures, maliciously punishes, or willfully and unlawfully cages a child; or

3. Knowingly or willfully abuses a child and in so doing causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to the child.

(b) “Child abuse” means:

1. Intentional infliction of physical or mental injury upon a child;

2. An intentional act that could reasonably be expected to result in physical or mental injury to a child; or

3. Active encouragement of any person to commit an act that results or could reasonably be expected to result in physical or mental injury to a child.

In this case, the Accused has pending charges for Child Abuse.  Child abuse is a Third-Degree Felony, punishable up to five years in jail and up to a $5,000 fine.

Every case is different depending on the facts and the circumstances. The truth is that attorneys are not able to fully analyze a case until ALL the evidence is received from the prosecutor’s office.

When doing a general analysis of this case, some of the questions to ask are: how old was the child? Was the child physically injured? did the metal bar have a sharp end? did it result in an injury? was there mental abuse?

It is also important to get a background from the Accused. Is there a mental disability? Is the Accused competent to stand trial? Does the accused suffer PTSD? was the accused going through an extremely stressful situation and she went too far?

Once those questions are answered, the next step is to discuss with the client the options going forward. Then present mitigation for a plea offer where the Accused would get rehabilitation as part of the conditions.

If faced with a serious criminal case, it is very important to have an experienced attorney on your side who will explore every possible defense to your case.