Leaving a Child Unattended or Unsupervised in a Motor Vehicle


SHORSTEIN, LASNETSKI, & GIHON
helps people defend against
Leaving a Child Unattended or Unsupervised in a Motor Vehicle

allegations.

Most people don't know that there is a specific statute related to leaving a child in a car unattended.  With stories every year of child deaths in the State of Florida resulting from children being left in cars while a parent goes into a store for what they intended to be a very brief time, the legislature has enacted a specific statute dealing with this issue.   Because cases like these often get a lot of media attention, it is extremely important to contact an experienced criminal lawyer right away to develop a defense strategy.  It is important for your criminal lawyer to get in touch with the State Attorney's Office as quickly as possible, particularly in cases like this.  If you, or a loved one, has been accused or charged with Leaving a Child Unattended or Unsupervised in a Motor Vehicle, call the experienced Jacksonville criminal defense lawyers of SLG Law now to discuss your case. 

What is Leaving a Child Unattended or Unsupervised in a Motor Vehicle?

Leaving a Child Unattended or Unsupervised in a Motor Vehicle is defined in Florida Statute Section 316.6135.  In order to prove that you are guilty of Leaving a Child Unattended or Unsupervised in a Motor Vehicle, the State must prove:
  • You were:
    • a parent of, or
    • a legal guardian for, or
    • a person responsible for,
the child, and
  • The child was younger than 6 years of age, and
  • You left the child unattended or unsupervised in a motor vehicle,
  • for a period in excess of 15 minutes, or
  • for any period of time if
    • the motor of the vehicle was running,
    • the health of the child was in danger, or
    • the child appeared to be in distress, and 
  • in so doing, you caused
    • great bodily harm, or 
    • a permanent disability, or 
    • permanent disfigurement,

to the child.


What if DCF gets involved?


In any case where a child is seriously injured or harmed, the Department of Children and Family Services (DCF) is going to get involved.  There are many statutes relating to their authority to conduct an investigation relating to the safety of children.  While the police are conducting an investigation on whether a crime was committed, DCF will conduct an investigation on whether the child is safe.  These investigations will often be conducted at the same time and sometimes overlap, but they are two separate investigations.  However, anything you say in the DCF investigation can be used against you in a criminal prosecution.  This can be a catch-22, because if you don't cooperate with the DCF investigation, it can result in a negative finding by DCF and/or a dependency judge, which can curtail your parental rights.  

If DCF wants to question you relating to a potential criminal investigation, call an experienced criminal defense attorney right away.  Do not meet with a DCF investigator before discussing potential criminal liability with a criminal lawyer.  Call our experienced Jacksonville criminal defense lawyers now for a free consultation where we can discuss both the criminal investigation and DCF investigation and what rights you have during both of those investigations.  


What is considered a "motor vehicle?"


A "motor vehicle" is defined as a self-propelled vehicle not operated upon rails or guideway.
Includes
motorcycle
 
Does not include
bicycle
motorized scooter
electric personal assistive mobility device
swamp buggy
moped 
What are the potential sentences for Leaving a Child unattended or Unsupervised in a Motor Vehicle?

Leaving child for more than 15 minutes
Up to 60 days in jail

Leaving child while motor running, health of child is in danger,
or child appears to be in distress
Noncriminal traffic infraction
$50-$500 Fine

Child suffers great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement
Up to 5 years in prison

* A law enforcement officer is authorized to use whatever means reasonably necessary to protect the child and remove the child from the vehicle.  The child shall be remanded to DCF custody if the officer cannot locate a parent, legal guardian, or person responsible for the child.

What are the possible defenses to Leaving a Child Unattended or Unsupervised in a Motor vehicle?

The common defenses to Leaving a Child Unattended or Unsupervised in a Motor Vehicle are that the child was not left for more than 15 minutes, that the child was not in distress, or that the child was not unsupervised or unattended.  Call our experienced criminal defense lawyers to discuss the specific facts of your case and what defenses may be available.

If you or a loved one has been arrested for or accused of
Leaving a Child Unattended or Unsupervised in a Motor Vehicle,

Call Shorstein, Lasnetski & Gihon Now!
Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorneys

904-642-3332 (Jacksonville)  

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