Are you being investigated, or have you been arrested for child abuse for spanking or similarly disciplining your child in Florida? If so, you may be able to use Florida’s child discipline defense to get the investigation terminated or your charges reduced or dropped. Whether the defense applies to your particular situation will depend upon both the manner in which, and why, you disciplined our child.
In child abuse cases involving knowingly or willfully abusing a child without causing great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement, the crime can be charged as a third degree felony, punishable by up to five years and a $1,000 fine.
Florida Statute section 827.03 (b) requires the State must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt to charge you with the crime of child abuse. First, the alleged victim must be under the age of 18. Secondly, the prosecutor must prove you did one of the following acts:
- intentionally inflicted physical or mental injury upon the alleged victim;
- committed an intentional act that could reasonably be expected to result in physical or mental injury to the alleged victim; or
- actively encouraged another person to commit an act that resulted in or could reasonably have been expected to result in physical or mental injury to the victim.
Many people are familiar with the biblical admonition that sparing the rod spoils the child. And, following that advice, many parents spank their children as a form of punishment and discipline. Depending on the circumstances, however, spanking your child can put you at risk of being investigated for child abuse. Continue reading