Child Abuse / Child Sex Crimes in St. Petersburg
Criminal Allegations Involving Children in Pinellas County, FL
Anyone accused of harming a child faces an uphill battle — public wrath, alienated family members, determined prosecutors and hard-line judges. To avoid prison, you will need an attorney with the ability to aggressively counter the charges without seeming to attack the child.
The Law Office of Timothy Hessinger in St. Petersburg can defend you against allegations of physical or sexual abuse of children. As a former prosecutor and as a criminal trial lawyer,
Tim Hessinger has handled numerous highly publicized child abuse cases, from teachers and priests accused of molestation to the most egregious crimes, such as Aggravated Child Abuse and Capital Sexual Battery.
Whether you have already been arrested or suspect you are the target of an investigation, contact us immediately. Our early intervention can have a positive impact on the outcome of your case. We take proactive, pre-filing steps to (a) get charges dropped entirely, (b) alter charges so that you will not have a sex offender designation or (c) avoid a felony charge/felony record. We can also deal with the media on your behalf.
Child Abuse or Neglect • Sex Crimes Against Children
We handle all charges, whether the accusations involve your own child, a family member, a child of no relation, or babies, kids or teens in your professional care:
- Physical abuse (battery) and aggravated child abuse
- Emotional abuse, torture or confinement
- Neglect or child endangerment
- Lewd acts (sexual penetration, touching, exposure)
- Child rape/child abduction
- Sexual battery on a child
- Sex with a minor under 16 (who cannot legally give consent)
- Child pornography
We have specific experience with shaken baby syndrome, including high-profile cases against parents or caregivers. Physical abuse cases are complex and difficult, requiring medical experts to address the nature and timing of injury to support other explanations and clear your name.
Aggressive Defense for Serious Criminal Charges in Pinellas County
Child abuse carries some of the harshest prison terms, and the State Attorney's Office pursues these cases hard. A conviction also means a sexual predator or
sexual offender label that will effect employment, professional licenses, housing and every aspect of personal life. If the state thinks you are a danger to the community, it will fight your release and seek to have you committed to a sex offender treatment facility for an indefinite period of time.
Preparing your defense requires an understanding of how law enforcement investigates these cases, and the agencies that assist police. Mr. Hessinger wrote the manual currently used by prosecutors for sex crimes involving children. He worked on a daily basis with Help a Child. Inc. (formerly CPT), the Department of Children and Families (DCF) and the Child Protective Investigation Division of the Sheriff's Office (CPID).
These insights and experience enable us to intervene before formal charges are brought. Our State Attorney experience also allows us spot the weaknesses in the prosecution's case. We examine everything that may affect the credibility of the victim:
- Leading questions or prompts by investigators
- Material changes in the child's story
- Prior false reports
- Contradictory evidence (DNA, witnesses, alibi)
- Ulterior motives of an adult (custody/divorce disputes)
- Physical examination of the child
We Can Help You Through This Nightmare
Our first priority is dismissal of child abuse charges as flawed or unfounded. From there we look at suppression of victim statements and other evidence, negotiated pleas, alternative sentences or taking your case to a jury. Contact us to learn how we can provide skilled defense against your serious charges. We practice in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco and Manatee Counties.
See our Sex Crimes Information Center for additional background about the laws and your defense.