Leaving a Child Unattended or Unsupervised in a Motor Vehicle - Florida Statute 316.6135
Are you being charged, in Palm Beach County, Florida with Leaving a Child Unattended in a Motor Vehicle? We are Leaving a Child Unattended in a Motor Vehicle attorneys located in West Palm Beach. When you are arrested for child abuse you want a lawyer that understands and practices in this area of law. Don’t hire a lawyer that dabbles in the art of criminal defense, hire a criminal defense attorney that has extensive experience in Leaving a Child Unattended in a Motor Vehicle cases. Your attorney needs to have knowledge and experience but also needs to know the players. Knowing the players comes from years of being inside the courtroom. Finding the best criminal defense attorney in Palm Beach County, for your case, is difficult. You need to review their educational background, experience in criminal cases, their reputation in the community, and their ability to communicate with you, the client. The quality of the criminal defense attorney you hire to defend your Leaving a Child Unattended in a Motor Vehicle case is extremely important. We ask that you consider our South Florida Criminal Defense Attorneys.
It is a crime in Florida to leave a child unattended or unsupervised in a car for more than 15 minutes, while the car is running, while the child is in distress, or when the health of the child is in danger.
The Florida heat can be brutal to adults. It can be far more inflicting on children. Leaving a child in a car can be fatal. The Florida Legislature wanted to prevent child deaths from being in a hot car by passing this law. Even well-meaning parents get in trouble with this law when they briefly run inside a store, one thing turns into another, and the child has been in the car for way too long.
What the State Prosecutor has to Prove to Convict a Defendant of This Crime
The state prosecutor has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt either:
- The defendant was a parent of, legal guardian for, or person responsible for the child;
- The child was less than 6 years of age; and
- The defendant left the child unattended or unsupervised in a motor vehicle for either:
- More than 15 minutes; or
- While the motor was running, the health of the victim was in danger, or while the child appeared in distress.
It is not a crime to supervise your child from outside the car. Sometimes individuals do not see the parent watching the child and call the police. A police officer responds to the scene and things escalate; however, “the State [is] required to [show] some fact tending to show that the mother had placed herself where she could not possibly have her child in view to carry out her duty to supervise and care for her.” State v. Sammons . If the prosecutor cannot prove the parent could not supervise the parent from outside the car, the case must be dismissed.
The punishment depends on what was done and if the child was hurt.
Anyone who leaves the child unattended or unsupervised for more than 15 minutes commits a second-degree misdemeanor which is punishable up to 60 days in prison and a $500 fine.
Anyone leaving the child unsupervised or unattended while the motor was running, the health of the victim was in danger, or while the child appeared in distress will receive a fine between $50 and $500.
If the child is hurt due to being left unattended or unsupervised which results in great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to a child, the crime is a third-degree felony which is punishable up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
If police respond to the scene, they might break one of the car windows to get to the child. On top of that, a worker from Department of Children and Families could take the child into custody.
Contact the Law Office of Roger P. Foley, P.A.
Call today to schedule a 5 minute free consultation with our attorneys. Our Palm Beach Gardens Child Endangerment Attorneys want to hear your side of the story. We will then create a tailor-made defense strategy to your case. We will take depositions of the individuals involved. We will look at the evidence and advise you on your options. We can take your case to trial or negotiate a plea deal. Whatever you choose, know that we will be there to fight to get you the best resolution to your case.