Child Abuse or Neglect

Child Abuse often occurs when there is an intentional mental or physical injury inflicted on a child, while Child Neglect is many times the result of a caregiver not doing what it takes to maintain the mental or physical health of a child.  An example of Child Abuse is Aggravated Battery done to a child.  An example of Child Neglect is failing to feed a child for a substantial time.  Both Federal and Florida law include heavy fines and severe criminal penalties, including potential mandatory/minimum sentences of up to 25 years and maximum potential sentences of up to LIFE.  Mr.  Petruzzi has represented numerous individuals charged with, or under investigation for, Child Abuse or Neglect offenses by both Federal and State authorities. His experience and knowledge serves as an invaluable asset to his clients.

To arrange for a free and confidential consultation with respect to any Federal or State Child Abuse or Neglect offense, contact our office at (305)-770-6550.

For complete details about Mr.  Petruzzi's background, expertise, and experience, click here.

Federal Child Abuse or Neglect offenses are investigated and prosecuted by various agencies, including the FBI and the Department of Justice. Some common Federal Statutes criminalizing Child Abuse or Neglect include:

18 USC Sec.  2258 –

A person who, while engaged in a professional capacity or activity described in subsection (b) of section 226 of the Victims of Child Abuse Act of 1990 on Federal land or in a federally operated (or contracted) facility, learns of facts that give reason to suspect that a child has suffered an incident of child abuse, as defined in subsection (c) of that section, and fails to make a timely report as required by subsection (a) of that section, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 1 year or both.

Florida Child Abuse or Neglect offenses are investigated and prosecuted by various State and Local law enforcement agencies.  Some common Florida Statutes criminalizing Child Abuse or Neglect include:

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

(1) "Child abuse" means:

(a) Intentional infliction of physical or mental injury upon a child;

(b) An intentional act that could reasonably be expected to result in physical or mental injury to a child; or

(c) 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.

A person who knowingly or willfully abuses a child without causing great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to the child commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(2) "Aggravated child abuse" occurs when a person:

(a) Commits aggravated battery on a child;

(b) Willfully tortures, maliciously punishes, or willfully and unlawfully cages a child; or

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

A person who commits aggravated child abuse commits a felony of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(3) (a) "Neglect of a child" means:

1.  A caregiver's failure or omission to provide a child with the care, supervision, and services necessary to maintain the child's physical and mental health, including, but not limited to, food, nutrition, clothing, shelter, supervision, medicine, and medical services that a prudent person would consider essential for the well-being of the child; or

2.  A caregiver's failure to make a reasonable effort to protect a child from abuse, neglect, or exploitation by another person.

Neglect of a child may be based on repeated conduct or on a single incident or omission that results in, or could reasonably be expected to result in, serious physical or mental injury, or a substantial risk of death, to a child.

(b) A person who willfully or by culpable negligence neglects a child and in so doing causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to the child commits a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(c) A person who willfully or by culpable negligence neglects a child without causing great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to the child commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

(4) For purposes of this section, "maliciously" means wrongfully, intentionally, and without legal justification or excuse.  Maliciousness may be established by circumstances from which one could conclude that a reasonable parent would not have engaged in the damaging acts toward the child for any valid reason and that the primary purpose of the acts was to cause the victim unjustifiable pain or injury.

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