If you have children, then you may understand that basic errands such as running into the grocery store can be much more hectic when your children are present. For this reason, you may question whether to leave them in the car if you believe the errand will be quick. However, choosing the latter in the middle of July can mean life or death for a child in some situations, and therefore, before doing so, it is in your best interest to understand the laws in Florida regarding children and cars. If you or a loved one is seeking information in this area, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced Brevard County juvenile dependency attorney so that we can strategize about the best possible outcomes for your situation.
Florida’s Children Car Laws
Recently in Florida, a 7-week-old child died from being left inside of a car for eight hours after a church service. Though it was an accident because the parties were unaware that the infant’s mother had placed the baby in a van after church, the number of child fatalities due to being left inside of a hot car continues to rise every year. In Florida, Florida Statute Section 316.6135, makes it illegal to leave a child age 6 or younger unattended in a motor vehicle in excess of 15 minutes or for any period of time if the vehicle is still running or the health of the child is in danger, such as during warm weather. If you are convicted of violating this law, you will receive a second degree misdemeanor and a fine not less than $50 and not more than $500. The Department of Children and Family Services will be notified and the child will be remanded to their custody.
For a prosecutor to be successful on this claim, the state must prove that the person who left the child unattended was responsible for the child, whether parent, legal guardian, or someone who was watching over the child, the prosecutor must prove that the child was 6 years old or younger, and that the child was left unattended for more than 15 minutes. If the state can prove this, then you will be convicted for violating the children car laws of Florida. If charged, it is invaluable to seek legal representation and advice as you may have defenses applicable to your case.
Need Legal Advice?
It is understandable that children can slow down your process when you are trying to do a basic thing, but just because it is understandable does not mean that you should do it. Doing so can result in harsh consequences if you are caught, charged, and convicted of breaking Florida’s children car laws, but more importantly, it could leave you childless. If you find yourself facing charges, an attorney can help you evaluate your claim and seek possible defenses on your behalf. If you or a loved one has been charged with leaving your child unattended in a motor vehicle, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced juvenile dependency attorney at Henderson Legal Group to help you with your case. Contact our office today for a free consultation.