Being falsely accused of child abuse can drastically affect your life. Whether your accuser reported the abuse out of malice or simply because of a genuine misunderstanding, false accusations can stick. If you are convicted of child abuse in Florida, you could face some serious consequences including:
- Loss of parental rights
- Jail or prison time
- Criminal record
- Difficulty finding a job or renting a home
Even false accusations of child abuse sometimes lead to convictions. For parents especially, these kinds of convictions can be devastating. The state could take away your child and ensure you only see him or her in the presence of another adult or a supervisor from child protective services. Even if you are able to continue living with your child, you will constantly have to deal with checkups and interference from child protective services.
Protect yourself and your family from the negative consequences of false accusations of child abuse by following the steps below.
Secure legal representation right away.
The most important thing you can do to protect yourself after a false accusation of child abuse is contact an attorney. You should look for an attorney with experience representing and defending the falsely accused. The defense attorneys at Goldman Wetzel can help build a strong case against your false child abuse accusations.
Do not answer questions without your attorney present.
Once you have secured legal representation, you should not speak with anyone about the false claims unless your attorney is present. This means you should not answer questions or engage in discussion with any of the following:
- The police
- Child protective services
- The child’s parents or other parent if the child in question is yours
- Other government workers or social workers
- Teachers or child care workers
Even if the questions do not appear to be legal in nature, the prosecution may use your answers against you in proceedings.
Your attorney knows when it is appropriate to respond to questions from the police or your accusers and when it is in your best interest to wait until you are in front of a judge or jury to present your defense.
It is best to say nothing at all regarding the false accusations if your attorney is not present.
Do not react angrily to the allegations.
Facing child abuse accusations can be scary and frustrating. However, you must remember to keep your cool; your words and actions can have a negative effect on your case.
Arguments and fights, especially those that the state might consider disturbances of the peace, will hurt your chances of overcoming the child abuse charges in court.
If the allegations relate to a custody case, it is especially important that you do not engage in conflict with the other parent. Try to remain calm and collected. Doing so will give you the best chances to win in court and the best chances of maintaining your parental rights.
Discuss whether you should cooperate with DCF with your attorney.
Child abuse allegations are frightening. Goldman Wetzel can help you understand the child abuse allegations fully so that you feel prepared to properly defend yourself. Our defense attorneys can help you decide whether or not you should cooperate with the Department of Children and Families and will fight to get the best possible resolution in your child abuse case.
Remember that a child abuse case is difficult for everyone; instead of getting angry, focus on getting the best result for you and your children. Contact Goldman Wetzel for help building your case today: 727-828-3900.