Parental Liability Defense  

Parental Liability Defense

In March 2016, a Florida mother and her toddler son made national news when the child shot his mother in the back. The mother was driving a truck and her 4-year-old son was sitting in the back seat. The mother’s gun, which she had placed under the driver’s seat, slid into the back where the child picked it up and shot his mother.

Police officers at the time recommended that criminal charges be filed against the mother. So, at the same time that she was recovering from her injury and her child taken from her custody, she had to be concerned she might also end up with a criminal record.

Florida Law

Florida is one of 28 states that has a child access prevention (CAP) law. This means that parents or other adults in charge of the minor, can be charged with a crime if they fail “to store or leave a firearm in the required way” and a minor gains access to it without permission and, without supervision, and then displays it in a public place or “in a rude, careless, angry, or threatening manner.” A violation of this statute is charged as a second degree misdemeanor and subjects the adult to 60 days in jail and a minimum fine of $500.

Potential Consequences of a Misdemeanor Conviction

Although a misdemeanor conviction is not as serious as a felony conviction and the incarceration time and fines are much less, there are collateral consequences to any criminal conviction. Just a few of those consequences that apply to misdemeanor convictions include:

  • You will have a criminal record for the rest of your life.
  • Jobs or careers that require a professional license, including health care licenses, real estate licensing and others may not be available to you.
  • You will have trouble obtaining a bank loan for a car or mortgage or even a credit card.
  • Your application for a rental home may be denied.
  • Problems with child custody or visitation may arise.

If your child, or a child who you were supervising, gained access to your firearm, and authorities allege your firearm was not properly stored, contact Jacksonville criminal defense attorney James Davis. He is one of the top lawyers in Jacksonville Florida and most experienced you need and will aggressively defend your rights and fight for the best possible outcome for the unfortunate experience.