Leaving a Child Unattended in a Motor Vehicle
Under Florida law it is a crime to leave a child unattended or unsupervised in a motor vehicle which could cause great bodily harm or a permanent disability to the child. In many of these cases, the parent acted without realizing that the child is in the vehicle, especially when the child is in a backward facing car seat.
The attorneys at the Sammis Law Firm represent individuals charged with leaving a child unattended in a motor vehicle in Tampa and Plant City, in Hillsborough County, FL.
Elements of Florida Statute Section 316.6135
Under Florida Statute Section 316.6135, the prosecutor must prove the following elements of the crime at trial:
- The defendant was the parent, legal guardian, or person responsible for the child;
- The child was less than six (6) years of age;
- The defendant left the child unattended or unsupervised in a motor vehicle for more than 15 minutes or while the motor was running causing the health of the child to be in danger.
If you have been charged with leaving a child unsupervised or unattended in a motor vehicle, contact an experienced Tampa criminal defense attorney that can defend you against this serious criminal charge.
Penalties for Leaving a Child Unattended in a Motor Vehicle
The charge of leaving a child unsupervised or unattended in a motor vehicle is a noncriminal traffic infraction punishable by a fine of not more than $100. The charge of leaving a child unsupervised or unattended can be charged as a second degree misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $500 if the motor vehicle was running or the health of the child was in danger at the time of the violation.
Furthermore, under Florida law, any law enforcement officer who observes a child left unsupervised or unattended in a motor vehicle may use whatever means are reasonably necessary to protect the minor child and to remove him from the vehicle.
The law enforcement officer should then leave notification for the driver of the vehicle after the child is removed from the vehicle. The law enforcement officer may remand the child to the custody of the Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services if the law enforcement officer is unable to locate the parents or legal guardian or other person responsible for the child.
Choosing an Attorney for Charging of Leaving a Child in a Motor Vehicle
If you were charged with a criminal offense for leaving a child in an unattended vehicle or another type of child abuse allegation, then contact a criminal defense attorney at the Sammis Law Firm. We represent clients in Tampa and Plant City in Hillsborough County, St. Petersburg and Clearwater in Pinellas County, Brooksville in Hernando County, and Dade City and New Port Richey in Pasco County, FL.