By Grace Casagrande

Earlier this week a couple was arrested after being found asleep with their two children at the beach. One might say that this couple was found sleeping on the job, that job being caring for their two young children. Florida’s laws place strict criminal penalties on those found to be neglecting or abusing children in their care. However, luckily, with a good criminal defense attorney on their side, there are some clear defenses.

couple arrested for passing out drank at beach with children

Under Fla. Stat. 827.03 (2)(d), “A person who willfully or by culpable negligence neglects a child without causing great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to the child commits a felony of the third degree.” Both Mr. Stephens and Ms. Langley were arrested for child neglect for being found passed out while the two children swam unsupervised in the pool nearby. While the alleged lack of care might not be willful, it could be found to rise to the level of culpable negligence, given the use of alcohol.

However, in order to be found guilty of neglect, the Accused must be found to be a caregiver of the children involved. Mr. Stephens could potentially argue that while he arrived at the beach with Ms. Langley and her children, that he was not the one who had responsibility over the children. In both Ms. Langley and Mr. Stephens’ cases it should be emphasized that the children were found completely unharmed. Therefore, while at first appearance, their situation may seem bleak, it could be argued that any alleged omission did not rise to “a failure or omission to provide a child with the care, supervision, and services necessary to maintain the child’s physical and mental health,” as required under Fla. Stat. 827.03(1)(e)(1). The children having a moment alone, while the adults slept, might not rise to what would be found to be neglect.

If you or your loved one are being accused of committing a crime, you should consult with one of our Criminal Defense Attorneys, don’t hesitate to call us at 352-WIN-4YOU We are available 24/7 and we offer payment plans.