HUSBAND ACCEPTS MISDEMEANOR PROBATION AND WIFE’S CHARGE DISMISSED
Date: February, 2019
Court: Okaloosa County Circuit Court
Our Clients, were both charged with Felony Child Neglect Without Great Bodily Harm. The wife was a nanny for a small child twenty-two months of age. The child was dropped off to the couple’s home for a two-day period. The clients called the mother and told her the child had what appeared to be a rash on her buttocks. The mother picked the child up shortly thereafter and took her to a local hospital. Upon examination it was determined that what our clients thought was a rash was bruising. This was a case where law enforcement really wanted to charge our clients with Child Abuse which is a much more serious charge than child neglect. However, there was insufficient evidence to prove that charge as it could not be determined when the bruising occurred or how it occurred. Of note, the child was also supervised at a church daycare and the daycare for Hurlburt Field at various times during her stay with our clients. The child had also been observed to have fallen on a concrete driveway on her buttocks while playing with our client’s three year old son.
Outcome: The charge of Felony Child Neglect was dropped entirely as against the wife for insufficient evidence. The husband agreed to plea to a misdemeanor charge of Contributing to the Dependency of a Minor for not immediately taking the child to the hospital when he saw the rash. Our client will serve one year probation and be eligible to have his record sealed immediately after concluding probation. He made the decision not to proceed to trial as the Child Abuse charge would carry a 5-year prison exposure and it would not be eligible for a record seal.