Culpable Negligence

Our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers know that there is a lot of confusion over culpable negligence, personal injury and the interaction between the two. For example, many personal injury matters (such as simple car crashes leading to an injury) are civil matters, not criminal ones. However, depending on the degree to which the negligent party demonstrated disregard for the safety of the victim, the incident might qualify as a criminal case (of culpable negligence), during which the state could bring criminal charges against the negligent party.

According to Florida law, the crime of culpable negligence can either be a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstance. Florida State Statute 784.05 details the criminal issue of culpable negligence. According to the statute, whoever, through culpable negligence, exposes another person to personal injury commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable by up to $500 in fines and/or 60 days in jail. Additionally, whoever, through culpable negligence, inflicts actual personal injury on another commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable by up to $1,000 in fines and/or 1 year in prison.

The state statute stipulates that whoever (through culpable negligence) exposes another person to personal injury by storing or leaving a loaded firearm within the reach or easy access of a minor (for purposes of this statute any person under the age of 16 years old) commits, if the minor obtains the firearm and uses it to inflict injury or death upon himself or herself or anyone else, a felony of the third degree, which is punishable by up to $5,000 in fines and/or 5 years in prison. However, our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers know that this subsection, which upgrades the crime from a second-degree misdemeanor to a third-degree felony, does not apply:

·If the firearm was stored or left in a securely locked box or container or in a location which a reasonable person would have believed to be secure, or was securely locked with a trigger lock;
·If the minor obtains the firearm as a result of an unlawful entry by any person;
·To injuries resulting from target or sport shooting accidents or hunting accidents; or
·To members of the Armed Forces, National Guard, or State Militia, or to police or other law enforcement officers, with respect to firearm possession by a minor which occurs during or incidental to the performance of their official duties.

As our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert know, when any minor child is accidentally shot by another family member, no arrest shall be made pursuant to this subsection prior to 7 days after the date of the shooting. With respect to any parent or guardian of any deceased minor, the investigating officers shall file all findings and evidence with the state attorney’s office with respect to violations of this subsection. The state attorney shall evaluate the evidence and act (or not) as they deem appropriate.

If you’ve been arrested for or charged with culpable negligence in Palm Beach, Broward or Miami-Dade County, please contact our criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert by calling 1-888-5-DEFEND (1-888-533-3363) to schedule a free consultation. We look forward to assisting you.

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