Leaving a Child Unattended in a Vehicle

If a child is left unattended in a vehicle, the child can be seriously injured or even die from heat exhaustion. In Florida, a person who leaves a child unattended or unsupervised in a motor vehicle can be charged with a crime under Florida Statute § 316.6135.

In many of these cases, the fact that the child is left in the vehicle is just a tragic accident often because a parent unexpectedly changes their routine and simply forgets the child is in the vehicle.

The attorneys at Bacchus Law Firm represent both men and women charged with any form of child abuse or aggravated child abuse.

Call (954) 500-5555 to discuss your case. 

The Elements of Leaving a Child Unattended in a Vehicle

Under Florida Statute § 316.6135, the prosecutor with the State Attorney's Office in Broward County, FL, must prove the following four elements beyond all reasonable doubt:

  • The Defendant was responsible for the victim or was a parent or legal guardian of the victim;
  • The victim was younger than 6 years of age; 
  • The Defendant left the victim 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.
  • In so doing, the Defendant caused great bodily harm, a permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to the victim.

Under Florida Statute § 316.003(21), the term "motor vehicle" means a self-propelled vehicle not operated upon rails or guideway, including a motorcycle, but not a bicycle, motorized scooter, electric personal assistive mobility device, swamp buggy, or moped.

This article was last updated on Thursday, November 9, 2017.