The line between what is appropriate punishment and what is felony child abuse is not always clear.
Florida permits corporal punishment. That is, a parent may use reasonable physical force to discipline a child. However, if excessive force is used or serious injury is caused, then you may be looking at felony charges.
Child abuse is a third degree felony, punishable by a maximum of 5 years in state prison. If serious injury is caused, the charge becomes a second degree felony, aggravated child abuse.
Now many times, a child abuse charge is an overreaction. A teacher - who is a mandated reporter - may see a mark or bruise on a child's body and will contact the Department of Children and Families (DCF).
DCF, which is presently under fire for past failures, may report the incident to police who may then make an arrest.
Penalties can range from Pretrial Intervention (PTI) to prison.
If you need a criminal defense attorney in Miami-Dade or Broward due to a child abuse charge, call me today.