A Jacksonville police officer was charged last month with child abuse, accused of spanking her son with a plastic hanger. The incident was reported to police after the child told someone at his school, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The school official is legally required to notify police. The officer, a 12-year veteran of the sheriff’s office, is charged with child abuse. The charge is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in state prison.
A potential felony conviction could also mean the end of the officer’s law enforcement career. Most law enforcement agencies do not allow people who are convicted of or plead guilty of a felony to be sworn officers. Even if there wasn’t a legal requirement, there likely would be problems for the officer. There is a distinct difference between the criminal justice system and the punishments employers can impose on their employees. And when it comes to law enforcement, perception can be just as important as the facts and legal outcome of the case. Even if the case was reduced to a misdemeanor as part of a plea agreement, which can happen in these types of Jacksonville Felony Cases, that would still cause a perception problem for the officer. The officer chose to go on unpaid leave until the case is resolved, the newspaper reported. Most of these types of cases never make headlines and are never covered by the media, but that always changes when there is a police officer who is the subject of the investigation.
Jacksonville Child Abuse charges can be similar to Jacksonville Sex Crimes in terms of the public’s inclination to assume guilt the minute an accusation is made. People often have their mind up once the person is charged or arrested, without waiting for the case to play itself out through the court system. And once the accusation is made, it can be extremely difficult for the person to clear his or her name – especially with the amount of media coverage that often comes with the arrest. Our Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney represents people accused of all types of criminal charges – from misdemeanors on up to serious felonies with potential life sentences – but knows that any charge is serious for the person who is arrested. From employment considerations to the fines and potential incarceration, our Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney will look at all of the potential consequences and explain them to you or your loved one so you can make an informed decision going forward.
If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Jacksonville Felony Crimes Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.