Articles Posted in Child Neglect

Published on:

Florida will have 159 new laws starting Tuesday that address various issues, including college tuition, corporate tax credits, abortions and sex offenders.

One of the most prevalent laws is one that aims to protect children and others from dangerous sex offenders. The laws are intended to keep the most violent sexual offenders locked up longer and close any loopholes in a law that allows the state to send predators to a high-security treatment center once they have served their time in prison. The new laws will subject more offenders to potential civil commitment and prosecutors, detectives and victim advocates will be part of the committee that reviews their cases.

The sexually violent predator package of bills was among the first of the legislature sent to Gov. Rick Scott during the 60-day session that ended in May. The new laws are meant to create a better child welfare system in Florida. As of now, Florida is the only state in America that has a 50-year mandatory minimum prison sentence for violent sexual offenders.

gavelAnother law that seeks to protect children concerns the Department of Children and Families. The law changes how the department investigates and responds to cases; now placing a higher emphasis on shielding a child from abuse rather than focusing on keeping a family together. Moreover, the law also pays for 270 additional child protective investigators so that caseloads can be reduced and a response team can be sent out quickly to investigate child abuse deaths when the child had previous dealings with the system.

Another law will establish a statewide pilot program to pay for foster children’s driver’s education classes, license fees and car insurance so that they can be better prepared to gain employment when they turn 18 and leave the system.

The children of immigrants in the country illegally will now be able to receive in-state tuition at state universities after Scott changed his position on the issue. Another bill will give tuition breaks to honorably discharged veterans as well as waive professional licensing fees for them.

Local school boards now have the responsibility of selecting textbooks, whether or not they are on a state-adopted list, and will be required to put policies in place that allow parents to object to the books they choose.

Another new law took effect on June 20 that expands a voucher program, giving corporate tax credits to companies that provide money for low-income families to send their children to private schools.

As far as criminal laws go, there will be increased penalties for spiny lobster poachers, people leaving the scene of an accident that causes injury and people who illegally sell prescription drugs. Additionally, electronic cigarette sales to minors are now illegal in Florida. Another law forbids sending text messages soliciting products to residents on the state’s “no sales solicitation calls” list.

Florida has also changed its definition for its late-term abortion ban. Abortions will be illegal in Florida at any stage in a woman’s pregnancy if her doctor concludes that the fetus could survive outside the womb. The previous law banned abortions after 24 weeks of pregnancy. An exception can be made to this law if the mother’s life is at risk.

Lastly, new laws will create a Florida Tourism Hall of Fame and the position of state poet laureate to promote poetry in Florida.

Laws across the United States are constantly changing. When you have been accused of committing a crime in Florida, only a Florida Trial Lawyer at Whittel & Melton can provide you with the legal representation that you need. While many attorneys are quick to negotiate with prosecutors to obtain a plea bargain instead of pursuing trial, our Florida Criminal Attorneys know that sometimes trial is the best option for your situation. We thoroughly evaluate every case and will always advise you of your best legal defense strategy.

Continue reading

Published on:

The parents of three children living in Daytona Beach were arrested last week after police allegedly discovered the family was living in a dead woman’s house. In fact, police claim the woman’s body was decomposing in a bedroom.

Police conducted a well-being check at the Holly Hill home after they were contacted by the Department of Children and Families who had not been in touch with the owner of the home since early September.

Police officers apparently forced their way into the home and found the body of a woman, believed to be a 33-year-old woman who had spina bfida and was wheelchair-bound.

According to the Holly Hill police chief, the smell was so bad “you could smell it from 150 feet away.”

Police claim they found a 38-year-old man and a 32-year-old woman living across the hall with their 4-year-old child. The couple had apparently been living with the deceased on and off for years.

They were apparently living in the home with the decomposing body along with their other two children, ages 6 and 11, who were at school when police arrived at the home.

In addition to the dead body, police claim they also found dog feces and urine in the home and evidence of drug abuse in the form of bath salts.

Both parents allegedly admitted that they had been cashing in the dead woman’s food stamps and Social Security benefits. However, they claim they were unaware the woman had died and assumed she left the home.

dead betch.jpgBoth were arrested on charges of child neglect and failure to report a death to the medical examiner. The man is also being charged with theft of utility services as well and is accused of illegally connected electrical and water service on the residence when it had been cut off.

The couple’s three children are now in protective custody.

Police have viewed the woman’s death as suspicious and ordered an autopsy and toxicology report last week.

Continue reading

Published on:

Spring Hill, FL – A Hernando County woman has been arrested and charged with child abuse after a 9-year-old child left in her care got sick after allegedly consuming crack cocaine.

Hernando County Fire Rescue Officials arrived at the woman’s home last week after the child began having convulsions.

The child was transported to a local hospital where blood tests apparently revealed the child had crack cocaine in the bloodstream.

Police claim the child ate a rock-like substance on Christmas Day. The child became sick shortly after.

The woman told deputies that the child had been in her care for five to seven days. Police claim the woman said the child probably found the crack and thought it was candy.

The Department of Children and Families took the child into custody.

815332_fire_truck.jpgA child abuse charge is taken quite seriously in the state of Florida and demands the immediate attention of a criminal defense attorney. In addition to potential time behind bars and hefty fines, a child abuse conviction can tarnish your good standing in the community, negatively impact your personal relationships and limit your future employment opportunities. Child abuse charges can arise from various forms of abuse, including physical maltreatment, emotional harm, sexual abuse and psychological damage. Any adult can be accused of this crime, including parents, foster parents, legal guardians, relatives and even baby-sitters.

If you are under investigation or have been arrested on child abuse charges, contact a Florida Criminal Defense Attorney at Whittel & Melton right away. We advise you to limit who you discuss the facts of your case with, especially law enforcement officers. Be aware, anything you say to police can be used against you in court. It is in your best interest to remain silent until your attorney is present.

A Child Abuse Lawyer at Whittel & Melton can provide your case with the personalized attention it deserves. From the moment you contact us, we take the time to hear your side of the story and perform an extensive investigation into the allegations. We know from experience that many child abuse charges arise from spiteful family members or simple mistakes. We can work aggressively to convince prosecutors to reduce your charges or have them dropped altogether.

Continue reading

Published on:

The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office arrested a 22-year-old dad Sunday on a charge of child neglect after he allegedly left two small children alone. A neighbor found a 2-year-old child sitting alone in the street and a deputy found a 10-month-old baby asleep alone on a couch inside the man’s home.

The neighbor took the 2-year-old and called the police when the parents could not be located. The child was not wearing shoes and supposedly told police that he sat down because his feet were burning.

According to police reports, the father returned home about 35 minutes after the deputy found the sleeping baby alone. He told the deputy he had been at a neighbor’s for about 10 minutes.

The National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System reported that approximately 1,760 children died of an injury caused by neglect or abuse in 2007. Nearly 600 of those deaths were the result of child neglect alone.

In Florida, child neglect is defined as depriving a child of food, shelter, clothing or medical care, supervision or even the mishandling of child support money. When deprivation or the state of a child’s environment causes the child to become emotionally, mentally or physically impaired, Florida also considers this child neglect. The crime of child neglect is considered a felony of the third degree in Florida. If convicted of child neglect, the penalties can include up to five years in prison, up to five years of probation and up to $5,000 in fines.

Continue reading

Contact Information