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Aggravated Child Abuse

One of the most serious charges under Florida law involves an allegation of aggravated child abuse. If you are being investigated for any allegation of child abuse, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. Dean Galigani is board certified in the specialty area of criminal trial law.

Gainesville Defense Lawyer for Aggravated Child Abuse Charges

Dean Galigani is experienced in representing individuals charged with the very serious offense of child abuse or aggravated child abuse. He represents clients in the following areas surrounding Gainesville in Alachua County including: Starke in Bradford County, Macclenny in Baker County, Lake Butler in Union County, Ocala in Marion County, Trenton in Gilchrist County, Lake City in Columbia County, Florida.

Elements of Child Abuse

Under Florida law, the term "child abuse" means either:

  • the intentional infliction of physical or mental injury upon a child;
  • an intentional act that could reasonably be expected to result in physical or mental injury to a child;
  • active encouragement of any person to commit an act that results or could reasonably be expected to result in physical or mental injury to a child.

Aggravated Factors in Florida's Child Abuse Statutory Scheme

When those elements are proven along with an additional element related to the harm caused to the child or another aggravating factor, then the crime can be charged as "aggravated child abuse." Under Florida Statute § 827.03(2) the crime of Aggravated Child Abuse alleges that the person committed an act of child abuse knowingly or willfully upon a child and in doing so caused great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement.

Aggravated child abuse can include an act of child abuse that constitutes an aggravated battery upon a child, or an act of willful torture or maliciously punishment, or an act to willfully and unlawfully cage a child.

Under Florida's aggravated child abuse statute, in order to prove that an aggravated battery was committed, the prosecutor with the State Attorney's Office must provide that the Defendant acted intentionally by either touching or striking the child against the will of the child. The act must cause bodily harm to the child. In so doing, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant intentionally or knowingly caused either great bodily harm, permanent disability, permanent disfigurement, or used a deadly weapon.

Definition of Terms Use in Florida's Aggravated Child Abuse Statute

Florida's aggravated child abuse statute defines the term "deadly weapon" to mean a weapon that was used or threatened to be used in a way likely to produce death or great bodily harm. The term "maliciously" is defined under Florida's child abuse statute to mean that the act was committed wrongfully, intentionally, and without legal justification or excuse.

The standard jury instructions for Florida's aggravated child abuse statute provides that "maliciousness may be established by circumstances from which one could conclude that a reasonable parent would not have engaged in the damaging acts toward the child for any valid reason and that the primary purpose of the acts was to cause the victim unjustifiable pain or injury."

Lesser Included Offenses of Florida's Aggravated Child Abuse Statute

Lesser included crimes include child abuse under Florida Statute Section 827.03(1). Under certain circumstances, the misdemeanor crime of simple battery under Florida Statute Section 784.03 can be alleged under the limitations explained in Kama v. State, 507 So.2d 154 (Fla. 2d DCA 1987). The charge of attempted child abuse may also be a lesser included offense under Florida Statute Section 777.04(1).

Finding an Attorney in Gainesville for Aggravated Child Abuse Charges

If you are under investigation for aggravated child abuse, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. Before you speak to a law enforcement officer, find out what you might need to do right now to protect yourself and your family from a false or exaggerated accusation of child abuse.

Dean Galigani represents men and women charged with child abuse and aggravated child abuse through Gainesville, Florida including Gainesville in Alachua County, Lake City in Columbia County, Ocala in Marion County, Macclenny in Baker County, Starke in Bradford County, Lake Butler in Union County, Trenton in Gilchrist County, Florida.