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Children are some of the most vulnerable members of our society, and intentionally causing a child to suffer harm can have serious consequences. Unfortunately, many people are wrongfully accused of child abuse as a result of personal matters, like child custody battles.

Charges of child abuse and neglect should never be taken lightly–in addition to long jail sentences and hefty fines, a child abuse conviction can affect a parent’s ability to see and interact with their children. That’s why it’s so important to find a skilled and experienced child abuse defense attorney to handle your case. 

If you have been accused of child abuse or child neglect, Tampa criminal defense attorney Andrew Buda is here to help. With his wealth of experience, Attorney Buda provides clients with the comprehensive legal representation and compassionate personal support they need in this trying time.

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Facing child abuse charges? Call us at (813) 322-2832 or reach out online to schedule a free case evaluation with Attorney Buda about your case.

Definition of Child Abuse in Florida

Each state has its own definition of what child abuse is. In Florida, child abuse is any intentional act of abuse or neglect committed by a legal adult on someone under the age of 18.

Florida Statutes § 827.03

Under Florida Statute § 827.03, someone commits child abuse when they:

  • Intentionally cause physical or mental harm to a child; 
  • Do something that is likely to cause a child harm; or
  • Encourage someone else to harm a child. 

Basically, if an act harms a child physically or mentally, or could have reasonably harmed them physically or mentally, then it can be considered child abuse. This statute also defines child neglect as a failure to provide a child with the necessary care and materials needed to maintain their physical and mental health. 

Types of Child Abuse Under Florida Law

Child abuse can occur in a few different ways. Below are the different types of child abuse as defined under Florida law.

Simple Child Abuse

Child abuse can be categorized as either simple child abuse or aggravated child abuse. Simple child abuse is any act of child abuse that does not cause great bodily harm, permanent disfigurement, or permanent disability. 

This means that if someone willfully abuses a child, encourages the harm of a child, or places a child in a situation where they could reasonably be harmed, but the child does not suffer from a severe physical or mental injury, the person who committed the act could face a simple child abuse charge

Aggravated Child Abuse

In contrast to simple child abuse, aggravated child abuse occurs when someone: 

  • Commits aggravated battery against a child;
  • Tortures, confines, or maliciously punishes a child; or
  • Knowing and willingly causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to a child.

Aggravated battery in Florida is defined as any act of battery committed with a deadly weapon, and malicious punishment is defined as any wrongful, intentional, and legally unjustifiable punishment. 

Neglect of a Child

In Florida, child neglect occurs when a caregiver fails to provide necessary care to a minor child, like food, clothing, and medical attention, or doesn’t make efforts to protect the child from harm. In Florida, this kind of abuse is categorized as either willful neglect causing harm or neglect without causing severe harm.

child abuse charge

What are the Penalties for Child Abuse?

Any willful act of child abuse or neglect could result in serious criminal penalties. Below are the penalties for child abuse and neglect in Florida.

  • Simple Child Abuse: Third-degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in jail, up to $5,000 in fines, and/or up to 5 years of probation
  • Aggravated Child Abuse: First-degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in jail and/or up to $10,000 in fines
  • Child Neglect Without Causing Severe Harm: Third-degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in jail, up to $5,000 in fines, and/or up to 5 years of probation
  • Child Neglect Causing Severe Harm: Second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in jail, up to $10,000 in fines, and/or up to 15 years of probation

Why You Need a Skilled Florida Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are dealing with charges of child abuse in Florida, it’s imperative to seek legal representation from an experienced Florida criminal defense attorney. Child abuse and neglect are considered felony crimes, which can negatively impact nearly every aspect of a person’s life. For instance, it can make it difficult for them to find employment or housing, and can revoke their ability to vote in public elections. 

Additionally, a child abuse conviction can affect a parent’s custody or visitation rights over their children. As a parent, losing the ability to have a relationship with your child can be devastating. If you’re facing charges of child abuse, you need a skilled Tampa criminal defense attorney like attorney Andrew Buda who can help combat these charges and clear your name.

Child abuse lawyers have the skills, knowledge, and experience necessary to fight against charges of child abuse and build a strong defense on behalf of their clients. They also understand the delicate nature of these kinds of charges and can navigate through the challenges, ensuring their clients receive the best outcome possible.

tampa child abuse lawyer

Challenges in Defending Child Abuse Allegations

Defending against child abuse charges requires a nuanced approach due to the severity of the accusations involved. Child abuse cases often involve sensitive and emotionally charged topics. Being able to navigate these kinds of delicate situations is crucial in securing a favorable outcome. Luckily, child abuse defense attorneys will have the skills and legal knowledge necessary to lead their clients through these cases.

Another major challenge is differentiating between legitimate concerns and false accusations. Like with all forms of abuse, suspected child abuse is a serious matter. However, in many cases, individuals may be wrongly accused of child abuse by a former spouse or household member in order to revoke their parental rights. A criminal defense attorney will know exactly how to refute these false claims in order to combat these charges.

It can also be difficult to distinguish between physical discipline and wrongful abuse. Many parents have different ideas of what forms of punishment are appropriate for children, and it’s important to protect children from wrongful or cruel punishments. However, under Florida law, physical discipline isn’t always child abuse. A child abuse defense attorney will be able to evaluate the evidence and call on expert witnesses to prove that child abuse did not occur. 

Andrew Buda’s Approach to Child Abuse Defense

Tampa child abuse attorney Andrew Buda brings a wealth of experience to each case he handles, including cases involving child abuse and neglect. As a former prosecuting attorney, he has first-hand experience on both sides of the courtroom, giving him an advantage in every criminal case he takes on. 

Additionally, Attorney Buda understands the gravity of child abuse allegations and can handle these cases with the compassion and sensitivity they require. He also provides each client with personalized attention, allowing him to build a defense that fulfills the unique needs of any given case.

Lastly, but most importantly, he has a thorough understanding of Florida criminal law, as well as the legal penalties surrounding given charges. Attorney Buda uses this knowledge to provide his clients with the most effective defense against their criminal charges. 

child abuse defense attorney

Choose Andrew Buda of Buda Law for Child Abuse Defense in Tampa, FL

If you have been accused of child abuse in Florida, it’s important to find the right attorney to defend against these charges. Luckily, Tampa child abuse defense lawyer Andrew Buda is here to help provide the residents of Tampa and beyond with the legal support they need to fight these charges.

We at Buda Law understand how important it is to defend against charges of child abuse. That’s one of the many reasons why we provide our clients with fierce advocacy and unwavering support throughout every step of the process. Attorney Buda provides each client with personalized attention, ensuring that their unique needs are met and that they receive the best defense possible.

Don’t let charges of child abuse rob you of your future–call us at (813) 322-2832 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with Attorney Buda regarding your case today.


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