Toddler sleeping in his car seat

Hearing that you’re facing Leaving a Child Alone in a Car charges in South Florida can feel devastating and scary, but Rossen Law Firm is here to fight to protect your rights & your family. Our Fort Lauderdale team is here to help, so reach out to our expert child abuse attorneys today to discuss your case.

What is a Leaving a Child Alone in a Car Crime?

The crime of Leaving a Child Alone in a Car occurs when a caregiver leaves a child younger than six-years old unsupervised in a car or motor vehicle for more than 15 minutes.

[FLA. STAT. § 316.6135 (2019)]


Leaving a Child alone in a car can either be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances. Especially in the South Florida heat, leaving a child in a car can be quite dangerous so the laws are serious. Even if it is only 70 degrees outside (rare in So. Florida) the car’s interior is 90 degrees after just 10 minutes and about 100 degrees after 20 minutes.  

The crime of Leaving a Child (6 or younger) Alone in a Car Longer than 15 minutes is a first-degree Misdemeanor in Florida and punishable by up to 1 year in jail, 1 year of probation, and a $1,000 fine.

Leaving a Child Alone in a Car for any period of time that results in great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement is a third-degree felony in Florida, punishable by up to 5 years in prison, 5 years of probation, and a $5,000 fine.


If you’re facing a Leaving a Child Alone in a Car charge – we are here to lend an expert hand and help you through this challenging time. Rossen Law Firm has extensive experience providing a compassionate and expert defense to Leaving a Child Alone in a Car charges in Fort Lauderdale.

Everyone makes mistakes; that’s life. No matter how good you are, smart you are, or careful you are. We are here to listen, not judge, and to answer any burning questions that we know you will have. 

We know that changes in routine, a lack of sleep or any other very normal life things can cause you to forget that you have a child in the back of your seat. Here are some tips from to help you remember that you have a child in the car with you:

  1. Be extra alert if your routine changes –> Ex: maybe you’re bringing your child to work with you, but you rush into the office like normal since bringing your child to work with you isn’t a regular occurrence.  
  2. Put one of your child’s toys in the passenger seat or on the dashboard as a reminder
  3. Leave another item you’ll need at your destination in the back seat – such as your phone 
  4. Put your child’s car seat in the middle of the backseat instead of behind the driver
  5. Discuss the topic of hot-car dangers and deaths with everyone who drives your child anywhere – partners, grandparents, friends, babysitters, etc
  6. Look before you Lock — get in the habit of always checking the backseat every time you get out of the car

*Reminder — if you as a Florida citizen ever see any child in a car seat alone in a car, you’re advised to call 911 

Leaving a Child Alone in a Car Defenses

  • Less than 15 Minutes: If the child does not suffer from great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement, it is a defense to the crime that under 15 minutes passed from when the child was first left in the car unattended.  
  • Coercion: It may be a legal defense if the person left the child unattended in a vehicle because they were forced to do so under the threat of harm. For instance, if the parent or adult was held at gunpoint and forced to be moved away from their car with the child still in it, they may be able to raise this as a defense in a court of law. A similar situation is where a person is robbed or was part of a carjacking situation, and they were separated from the car with the child or infant still in it. 
  • Emergency/Necessity: It may be a defense if the person left the child unattended in a car because there was an emergency situation, or if they did it out of necessity. An example of this is if there is a natural disaster or some kind of impending danger that caused the child to be separated from the adult and left in the car. 

Discuss Leaving a Child Alone in a Car Charges with a Fort Lauderdale Lawyer

We handle all types of Leaving a Child Alone in a Car charges in South Florida. We know how to protect your rights and your family. 

Contact our Fort Lauderdale office if you’re facing Leaving a Child Alone in a Car charges. We’ll listen to your story, discuss the best course of action for you, and see what resources may help you. One mistake shouldn’t have the power to destroy your life – and we’ll fight to make sure it doesn’t.

Rossen Law Firm offers FREE strategy sessions so you know how we’ll work to get the best possible result on your case for you.


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