Aggravated Child Neglect in Florida
In Florida, the crime of Aggravated Child Neglect is defined as when a carefiver willfully or through culpable negligence fails to provide a child with the essential care, supervision, and services necessary to maintain the child's physical and mental health, or fails to protect a child from abuse, neglect, or exploitation by another person, and in failing to do so, causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to the child.
A child is defined as any person under the age of 18 and a caregiver is defined as a parent, adult household member, or other person responsible for the child's welfare.
Neglect of a child may be based on repeated conduct or on a single incident or omission that results in, or could reasonably be expected to result in, serious physical or mental injury, or a substantial risk of death, to a child.
Penalties for Aggravated Child Neglect
In Florida, the crime of Aggravated Child Abuse is classified as a Second Degree Felony punishable by up to fifteen (15) years in prison, fifteen (15) years of probation, and a $10,000 fine.
Aggravated Child Abuse is assigned a Level 8 offense severity ranking under Florida's Criminal Punishment Code and, absent grounds for a downward departure sentence, a judge is required to sentence a person convicted of Aggravated Child Abuse to a minimum sentence of 34½ months in prison, but may also sentence the person up to the statutory maximum of 15 years in prison.
Defenses to Aggravated Child Neglect
The degree of negligence required to sustain a conviction for Aggravated Child Neglect is as high as that required for the imposition of punitive damages in a civil action; thus simple negligence will not support a Aggravated Child Neglect conviction; even if the negligence causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to the child. 
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