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What Is Actually Considered As Child Abuse In Florida?

Disclaimer: This article is in response to questions frequently asked of Mr. Cobb and is an unedited dictation transcript. Just like talk to text on your smartphone, there may be misspelled words or sentence fragments.

Florida statute 827.03 defines the abuse of children in multiple ways. Aggravated child abuse involves something along the lines of a felony occurring to a child under the age of 18. Aggravated battery, willful torture, malicious punishment and caging in a willful and unlawful manner are all considered forms of aggravated child abuse. Knowingly and willfully abusing a child and causing great bodily harm, permanent disability or permanent disfigurement is also considered aggravated child abuse.

Child abuse itself, without aggravation, is defined as the intentional infliction of physical or mental injury upon a child. We start running into real problems in terms of trying these types of cases when they involve mental injury. Cases involving mental injury involve expert witnesses and are very technical and difficult to defend. That is because a large number of jurors-despite saying that they can be fair- are predisposed to presume guilt. The increasing level at which guilt is presumed is making it more and more difficult for people to get fair trials, particularly in cases involving children.

Aggravated child abuse is a felony of the first degree. Short of a mandatory life in prison type of felony or a death penalty case, it is the most serious form of penalty under Florida law. These score a great deal of points under the Florida Punishment Code, and unless a proper defense is mounted, the negotiating parameters are normally limited in terms of how much prison time someone will serve. Some of these cases are best defended in an aggressive manner, while others will have a better outcome if the case is defended more gently. Each case is different because each set of facts is different.

Expert testimony is statutorily regulated when it comes to child abuse, except as provided in a specific subsection. Specifically, a physician may not provide expert testimony in criminal child abuse cases unless properly licensed under chapter 548-549 or unless they are certified as an expert witness subject to those two subsections related to qualification. Subsection B goes on to say that a physician’s proffered testimony as an expert regarding a mental injury cannot be allowed unless they are licensed under those sections as well. Moreover, a psychologist may not give expert testimony regarding mental injury unless licensed under another area of law (chapter 490). This section only applies to criminal child abuse and neglect cases pursuant to this chapter, dependency cases under chapter 39 and cases that involve sexual battery under 794.

It is critical to understand that although not specifically listed under 827, there are forms of child abuse that are not contained within that statute. Instead, they are alluded to at the very end of 827 when it talks about the sexual battery (under 794). One could argue that an 804 of lewd or lascivious molestation of a child is a form of child abuse, even though it’s not specifically defined as such under this particular section. When it comes to cases involving abuse of children, it’s important to remember that there is not one specific section of the law that is one-size-fits-all; there are many sections of the law. If a crime of a physical nature is committed against a child, then it is probably going to fall under the statutory rubric of child abuse.

Disclaimer: This article is in response to questions frequently asked of Mr. Cobb and is an unedited dictation transcript. Just like talk to text on your smartphone, there may be misspelled words or sentence fragments.

For more information on Child Abuse In Florida, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling 850-423-0035 today.

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“"This is actually one of the best law firms I've had the pleasure of dealing with. They stick with you throughout the entire process, walking you through every step and they know the law! They were able to help me get out of a situation that had occurred because of a technicality and was very knowledgeable in the process. I would recommend them to anyone."”

James S.

“"Such a great service to go through when dealing with any legal matter! Mr. Cobb is very knowledgable and will take the time to understand and communicate with you in a timely manner."”

Dreeana A.

“"Everything was great and smooth working with Mr. Cobb. He was fast and efficient and answered any questions I had."”

Joshua T.

“"I would recommend Attorney Cobb to others. I would describe him as an honest and straightforward lawyer. All my concerns were addressed."”

Crystal H.

“"He was excellent, he did everything without me having to do much especially not living close. I hired him and told him everything and he did it all and it was a great experience. The legal assistant that works there was also amazing."”

Joseph S.

“"It was as clean of a process as it could have been for me. He handled everything for me because I live out of state and made it so simple and easy. He was great and thorough and I hardly had to do anything."”

William S.

“"If you can hire Stephen as your attorney then definitely do that. He talked openly and gave me assurance and even his legal assistant that works there is amazing. I never had any problems or trouble with them."”

Lonnie M.

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