Helping Good People At Their Worst Times

Can I leave my child alone in the car?

On Behalf of | Nov 2, 2015 | Criminal Law

I think there is an unwritten rule that every parent has heard if not repeated, “Never wake a sleeping baby.” I’d suggest breaking the rule if your child is in a car. According to Florida Statute 316.6135, you cannot ever, for any period of time, leave your child unattended if the child is less than 6 years of age in a car with the engine on.  It is a traffic citation.  You then would have to look at the word “unattended.” For instance, if you could still see your child from a store window, is that unattended? Now if you leave a child under the age of 6 in the car when the engine is off or on, for more than 15 minutes you can be charged with a second degree misdemeanor. A second degree misdemeanor is punishable by 60 days in the county jail and up to 60 months on probation. If great bodily injury happens as a result of the child being left alone, it is then a 3rd degree felony. (Up to 5 years in prison.)

What is interesting, is in Florida (hot as heck in the summer), that means it is not a crime to leave your child in a hot car for up to 15 minutes. That doesn’t make any sense. Easier to embrace the crankiness of your child, and wake him/her up.