Child Abuse Defense Lawyer
Child abuse is an extremely serious charge in Florida that can have horrible rippling effects. Unfortunately, child abuse allegations can be tossed around carelessly or maliciously. Even a simple bruised knee or elbow, if reported by a school teacher or neighbor, can have catastrophic consequences. Just the mere accusation of child abuse could cause a parent to lose child custody and visitation rights, limit their ability to enter their own home, and damage their personal, familial, and professional reputation. Convictions for child abuse carry strict penalties: a first-time offender can face up to 15 years in prison. The line between parental discipline and child abuse can, at times, be vague. Child abuse allegations may also be leveled for vindictive reasons, for example, during a particularly bitter divorce.
If you have been accused of child abuse, aggravated child abuse, child endangerment, or child exploitation in South Florida, the child abuse team at Nichols Law can help you. Do not let a false or overblown allegation strip you of your right to care for your own children and ruin your reputation.
Defending Against Child Abuse Allegations
Robert Nichols served as a Child Abuse Prosecutor for a decade before becoming a successful defense attorney. He has handled literally thousands of child abuse cases from minor misdemeanors to nationally televised trials involving world-renown experts from across the United States. Any crime involving children is especially difficult and requires an attorney with vast experience. In fact, most attorneys either will not handle these cases, or have never had the specialized background to properly investigate and litigate them. Few attorneys in Florida can match Robert Nichols’ experience handling child abuse cases.
Robert Nichols will work with you to prepare a defense to match the specific circumstances of your case. Your defense will depend on the nature of the allegations and the person making the allegations, whether the accusation pertains to physical, emotional, psychological, or sexual abuse, and the type of proof offered by the prosecution. We may use a forensic psychologist to show your peaceful nature.
Some common defenses to unjust allegations of child abuse include: The injury was caused by an accident or other nonabusive circumstances, such as sports or mere roughhousing; the allegations are false, brought either by a wellmeaning but misunderstanding third party or by a vindictive party trying to target the defendant; or that the alleged abuse was, in truth, normal parental discipline within the normal bounds and rights of a parent raising their child. Simple spanking that causes no more than light bruising, for example, is a matter of discipline, not abuse. We also recognize that a child witness may be confused, angry, coached or just does not understand the severity of what they are saying, and it is our job to expose that motive.
Child Custody and Divorce
Child abuse allegations, whether or not they are brought criminally, can have a significant effect on a divorcing party’s rights to child custody and visitation. A conviction for domestic violence or child abuse will almost certainly prevent a party from obtaining sole or shared custody. It might even prevent a parent from seeing their children after a divorce without supervised visitation. If you have been accused of child abuse, it is vital that you defend yourself to the fullest extent of the law to avoid losing your parental rights.
Additionally, interference with another party’s custody rights can be a form of criminal child abuse. If your spouse has a court order permitting them visitation or custody, taking your children away from the state without permission or otherwise preventing them from exercising their parental rights could lead to criminal prosecution for interference with child custody, child abuse, child endangerment, or even kidnaping. If you have reason to limit your coparent’s custody or visitation rights, such as if they are not paying child support or if they pose a danger to you or your children, you must seek court permission to modify the terms of custody. Failing to do so can subject you to criminal prosecution. You should consult your attorney before acting on your own.
If you have been accused of child abuse by a romantic partner, a spouse, or a child, you could potentially be subjected to a restraining order. An injunction against domestic violence, often called a restraining order, prohibits the respondent from having any contact with the alleged victim and can include additional provisions such as limitations on interaction between the parties, prohibitions on communication, and limitations on where the respondent is allowed to visit. Restraining orders can be requested even without concurrent criminal charges being brought against the respondent. Restraining orders can have dire consequences. You could be prevented from visiting your children because they live with the alleged victim. You could be banned from your own business because it brings you into contact with someone. You could be essentially evicted from your own home, or prevented from communicating with family or friends. The list goes on.
Failing to properly defend against a petition for a restraining order is a dangerous mistake. A restraining order can be temporary while the matter is pending before the judge, but can become permanent if unchallenged in court. I f a romantic partner has accused you of domestic violence or child abuse and is seeking an injunction against you seeing your children, you need to act quickly to protect your rights. Call the restraining order team at Nichols Law for assistance.
Get Help Defending Against Child Abuse Charges in Fort Lauderdale and Broward County
If you have been arrested or charged with child abuse, speak with an understanding and effective South Florida child abuse defense attorney as soon as possible. Nichols Law is ready to hear your case. We understand that life is complicated and that not all criminal allegations are made in good faith. We bring more than 50 years of litigation experience to bear in providing passionate and dedicated service to clients accused of crimes in Florida. Call us today at 954-779-3313 for a free consultation, or fill out our contact form online. We are here to help protect your reputation, your rights, and your freedom.