Child Neglect in Florida

If accused of Child Neglect in Florida, you need to know the:

Definition of Child Neglect

Under Florida Statute 827.03(2)(d), the crime of Child Neglect occurs when a caregiver willfully, or by culpable negligence, fails to:

  1. Provide a child with the care, supervision, and services necessary to maintain the child's physical and mental health that a prudent person would consider essential for the well-being of the child; or
  2. Make a reasonable effort to protect a child from abuse, neglect, or exploitation by another person.

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 Child Neglect

The crime of Child Neglect is classified as a Third Degree Felony and is assigned a Level 6 offense severity ranking under Florida's Criminal Punishment Code.

If convicted of Child Neglect, a judge can impose any combination of the following penalties:

  • Up to five (5) years in prison.
  • Up to five (5) years of probation.
  • Up to $5,000 in fines.

Defenses to Child Neglect

In addition to the pretrial and trial defenses that can be raised in any criminal case, a specific defense to the crime of Child Neglect is:

Simple Neglect

The degree of negligence required to sustain a conviction for 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 Child Neglect conviction. [1]

Contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Richard Hornsby

If you have been arrested or charged with the crime of Child Neglect in Orlando or the Central Florida area, please contact Criminal Defense Lawyer today.

The initial consultation is free and I am always available to advise you on the proper course of action that can be taken.


  1. State v. Greene, 348 So. 2d 3 (Fla. 1977)