Child neglect is a criminal offense in Florida as it is many other states, but it is hard to prove conclusively and Florida authorities are sensitive to the fact that imprisoning a caregiver may be harder on a young victim of neglect than the supposed neglect itself. Allegations of child abuse or neglect will often bring on an investigation by the Department of Children and Families (DCF), temporary removal of the child from the home, a felony arrest and criminal record.
That’s why you need to get the best criminal defense attorney in Miami that you can afford if you suspect the authorities are investigating you for child abuse or neglect.
Recently, a 34 year old mother allegedly left her child behind in the lobby of the Florida apartment block she was living in and was reported to have told the strangers she left the child because she “didn’t want the child anymore” and wasn’t bothered “if the police were contacted.”
Whether this exchange actually took place in those very words may have some bearing on whether Jennifer Cael is convicted of child neglect. It seems that the people who were left with the child did in fact contact the police and knew enough about the mother to tell them that she was probably around at her boyfriend’s in another apartment in the same block.
The police did apparently find Cael at the apartment stated and it seems she was not in a very good mood. The charging report says that police found her “naked” and “intoxicated” and not ready to be escorted away. It is alleged that she punched one of the officers in the chest and then urinated on the officer who was trying to put handcuffs on her.
She went to Jail and a bail bond was set at $15,000. Cael has been charged with two offenses, one being child neglect and the other resisting an officer with violence.
Both criminal charges are serious ones as they involve criminal offenses with potential jail sentences and fines, the involvement of DCF in trying to remove the child from an unfit parent, let alone the effect the whole saga could have on Cael’s child.
In Florida, child neglect is covered by Statute Section 827.03. There are two main ways a caregiver can be accused of “neglect of a child”. The first is that the caregiver fails to provide sufficient care, supervision or services to maintain the physical and mental health of the child. The other is when the caregiver fails to reasonably protect a child from another person’s abuse, exploitation or neglect.
Whether Cael is convicted under the circumstances described above will depend on how determined she was to neglect her own child and whether she is helped by an experienced Florida defense attorney. This is where my initial advice applies to Cael: hire the best criminal defense lawyer you can afford. The state faces lots of hurdles in proving each and every element of the allegations in this case beyond a reasonable double. Here’s where hiring the best criminal defense lawyer in Florida will come in handy.
The greatest criminal lawyers will leave no stone unturned in the defense of a client, and this includes Cael. But like everything else in life, you get what you pay for. If she leaves it up to the government or chance, then she may just get what the law says are the penalties: a long jail term.
The most serious penalties arise when the caregiver, the mother in this case, is proven to have shown “culpable neglect.” Basically, this means that she knew that leaving her child in the hands of other people might lead to great harm or even death. This sounds unlikely in this case, according to the details as released.
Prosecutors will no doubt try to find out what the history of neglect has been and establish whether there was a pattern of neglect involved or whether there was a one off mistake that Cael made and may have happened because she was drunk at the time.
The charge of resisting an officer with violence could prove potentially more serious than the neglect. If convicted, Cael could face a jail term of up to 5 years in prison at the worst as well as a $5,000 fine plus court costs.
Her lawyer may argue that the child neglect circumstances be taken into account and press for a period of probation rather than jail if the attorney shows that the mother is capable of taking proper care of her child in future. Jail is much more likely if it can be proven that the officer or officers were definitely hurt or injured during the incident.
A great criminal defense lawyer may take the officer’s statement or deposition and in the process get a feel for how amenable the officer is to recommend a reduction of charges or just going easy on this mother.
Time will tell. However, if you or someone you know is accused of child neglect, child abuse or any criminal charge, make sure they hire the best criminal defense attorney they can afford as early as possible. Early intervention will make a big difference in possibly getting a case reduced or dismissed.
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If you have any questions about this or any other criminal accusation, call Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer Albert Quirantes at: 305-644-1800 or visit our homepage www.CriminalDefendant.com for a direct link to the office or a text message or a map and directions to our office.