False Claims of Child Abuse: Do’s and Don’ts to Protect Your Rights
With public awareness about child abuse at an all-time high, officials will take immediate action to protect children when they receive reports about violations of the law. At minimum, you can expect a thorough investigation into the most intimate details of your life. Under of Florida’s statute on Abuse of Children, any act that could cause physical or mental injury to a minor under 18 years old is punished severely.
However, not all accusations are substantiated. Some are even made in bad faith, often in connection with heated child custody disputes. The following list of Do’s and Don’ts – along with counsel from an experienced Florida domestic violence defense attorney – can go a long way to supporting your side of the matter if you’ve been accused of child abuse.
Do Continue to Maintain Positive Relationships with Children. When false allegations arise in a custody battle, you should remember that the children are most likely not the source of the accusations. Ideas or thoughts may have been placed in their minds, especially young, impressionable children.
Don’t Cross the Line. Avoid engaging in any conduct that’s questionable, suspicious, or inappropriate, around children or adults. Making suggestive comments, telling off-color jokes, or related acts could be used against you.
Do Reach Out to Others. Contact other family members, friends, co-workers, and others who know you and would be willing to testify on your behalf. They may not even need to appear in court, as some sworn statements can be made through an affidavit. These individuals may not be witnesses to the alleged conduct, but they can offer testimony about your character.
Don’t Underestimate the Allegations. Florida officials don’t take child abuse accusations lightly, so you can expect that many aspects of your life will be investigated. Even when you know the allegations are false, authorities treat these cases very seriously.
Do Take Action to Protect Yourself. When you’re facing child abuse allegations, there’s no time to be passive and hope they go away. An offense against a child is a Third Degree Felony, for which you could be sentenced to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Treat your situation with the seriousness it deserves.
Don’t Put Yourself in an Awkward Position. There’s a microscope on your activities when you’re facing false child abuse allegations, so avoid putting yourself in situations that could support your accuser’s case. Don’t help children to the restroom, assist with changing clothes, or bathe them – unless there’s another adult present to verify that you’re doing nothing wrong.
Do Retain a Florida Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer to Protect Your Rights
You should hire a knowledgeable attorney immediately after someone falsely accuses you of child abuse. Though you may believe that the truth will come out or the other person will retract the statements, you need a lawyer who understands the charges and can defend your interests. For additional information, please contact Fort Lauderdale domestic violence attorney Kevin J. Kulik to schedule a consultation at our office. We can go over your case and develop a solid defense strategy.