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 & Navarro Law Group 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.