The United States, and the State of Florida in general, have criminalized a vast array of conduct. Some criminal offenses are beyond questionable. The legislature has put in place various laws that criminalize conduct that causes danger to no one. For example, driving with a suspended license is criminalized to generate fines and revenue for the government, and to trap those without the resources to obtain licenses in a cycle of criminality. Sex workers are criminally punished for prostitution even though there are no victims and typically no harm done. And even today minor drug offenses like possession of cannabis result in sometimes serious criminal charges. Sometimes it can seem like criminal charges in Florida are designed to disenfranchise the poor and marginalized in society.
And then there are criminal charges that punish conduct that is unquestionably morally wrong. Crimes involving children as victims can be especially reprehensible and the criminal laws of our state have been designed to protect children at all costs. Child sex charges and child abuse charges are treated especially seriously and can result in serious criminal penalties including lengthy prison terms for those who are convicted of such offenses. Because of the perceived seriousness of criminal offenses against children, even more minor examples of criminal action are punished more harshly and are looked down upon by society. If you have been investigated for or charged with a criminal offense against a child, you should not hesitate to contact a skilled Clearwater criminal defense attorney to represent you.Elements of Child Neglect
One of the more “minor” criminal offenses against children in the State of Florida is child neglect. Child neglect is criminalized and punished under Florida Statute 827.03 subsection E. The same statute punishes more serious offenses such as child abuse and aggravated child abuse. Those types of crimes are known as “willful” offenses, meaning the prosecution must prove that the defendant intentionally or willfully abused and caused mental or physical harm to a child. Child neglect is the slightly less serious version of those criminal offenses, distinguished by the lack of a willful intent element.
Child neglect is defined as a caregivers failure or omission to provide a child with the care or supervision necessary to ensure the mental and physical health of the child. The necessities contemplated by this law include but are not limited to food, clothing, shelter, nutrition, adequate supervision, medicine, and appropriate medical services. Child neglect also criminalizes and punishes neglect that leads to a child suffering from neglect, abuse or exploitation by another person. Child neglect criminal charges can result from one single incident or from repeat conduct that result in physical or mental injury to a child. Child neglect is a criminal offense that encompasses a wide range of potential conduct, and is purposefully vague in its descriptions of the required elements. Don’t fall victim to the purposely vague and overbroad language of criminal offenses. Contact a dedicated Clearwater criminal defense attorney to represent you right away.
There are different penalties for child neglect charges depending on the result of the alleged neglect. A person convicted of child neglect that does NOT cause great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement commits a third degree felony that is punishable by up to five years in prison. Someone who is convicted of child neglect where the jury finds that the child suffered great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement commits a more serious second degree felony that can be punished by a maximum of fifteen years in prison.Speak to Our Lawyers now
The attorneys at Hanlon Law are experienced and dedicated Clearwater criminal defense lawyers. They will work tirelessly to ensure that your rights are protected and that you achieve the best possible outcome to your case. Call us for a consultation today at 727-897-5413.