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Orlando Criminal Defense Lawyer > Orlando Child Neglect Lawyer

Orlando Child Neglect Lawyer

No parent is perfect. Anyone who has even undertaken the difficult task of raising a child will make mistakes. Unfortunately, in some cases there are prosecutors who seek to criminalize such mistakes by pursuing charges of child neglect.

Indeed, child neglect can be prosecuted as a felony under Florida law. This can mean serious jail time and the possible loss of parental rights. So if you are facing such charges, it is imperative that you work with a qualified Orlando child neglect lawyer who can mount a zealous defense on your behalf. The Joshi Law Firm represents people accused of serious crimes throughout Central Florida. Our team can review the state’s case against you and advise you on the best course of action for both you and your family during this difficult period.

Child Neglect Requires Proof of “Culpable” Negligence

Florida legislators and judges have struggled over several decades to come up with a definition of criminal child neglect that does not simply authorize the state to punish what some might consider bad or ineffective parenting. As the Florida Supreme Court observed in a landmark opinion on this subject, criminal child neglect requires “more than mere negligence.”

Current state law defines “neglect of a child” to mean either:

  • a caregiver’s failure, or omission to provide, a child with the care, supervision, and services necessary for that child’s physical mental health. This includes any food, nutrition, clothing, medicine, or medical services that a “prudent person” would consider essential to the child’s well being; or
  • a caregiver’s failure to make a “reasonable effort” to protect a child from abuse, neglect, or exploitation by another person.

In a criminal prosecution for child neglect, the State Attorney must prove–beyond a reasonable doubt–that the defendant acted with “willfully or by culpable negligence.” Again, the Supreme Court has made it clear that ordinary negligence is insufficient. This means that the caregiver acted consciously in a manner that a reasonable person would know would likely result in death or serious harm to the child.

It is also important to note that criminal child neglect does not require proof of a pattern of behavior or conduct. A jury may convict a defendant based on a single proven act or omission. And while child neglect does not require proof that the child suffered great harm, that can affect how the crime is charged.

Under Florida law, criminal neglect of a child is a second-degree felony when the act or omission “causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to the child.” This carries a maximum prison term of 15 years. In all other cases, child neglect is a third-degree felony, which still carries a possible jail term of 5 years.

Let Our Orlando Child Neglect Lawyers Help You Today

In the state’s understandable zeal to protect children, we should never allow the criminal justice system to run roughshod over parents and other caregivers facing serious felony charges. Our Orlando child neglect lawyer can help ensure the prosecution and the courts respect your rights. Call the Joshi Law Firm, PA, at 844-GO-JOSHI today to schedule a free consultation. Call the Joshi Law Firm, PA, at 844-GO-JOSHI today to schedule a free consultation.

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