Criminal Negligence Charges Are Scary. We Can Help.
If you are facing charges for criminal negligence it is essential that you speak with a criminal defense attorney right away. If you receive a conviction for criminal negligence, Florida law states that you could face jail time or even time in prison. Contact us today to speak with an attorney about your case.
Criminal negligence, also known as culpable negligence, may be either a misdemeanor or a felony charge so it must be taken seriously. Being convicted of criminal negligence can have short-term and long-term impacts, such as a permanent criminal record. If you’ve been charged, or think you may be charged with criminal negligence, you should retain a defense attorney as soon as possible.
An experienced attorney will use all the tools at their disposal to defend your rights and prove your innocence. This may involve calling expert witnesses to the stand to provide testimony stating your actions were not far outside the scope of how another individual would have behaved in the same situation.
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In order for a court to convict you on charges of criminal negligence, the prosecutor's office must prove several things beyond a reasonable doubt. They must prove:
Your actions exposed a person or group of people to injury or that you caused the injury of a person or group of people.
Their injuries were the result of negligence, and not simple carelessness, forgetfulness, or oversight.
There is a difference between negligence and carelessness, and understanding and identifying each is crucial in your case. Criminal negligence means that you acted far outside of the scope of how any other reasonable person would act in a similar situation. It means that your actions deviated significantly from what one could consider normal behavior.
Carelessness vs. Negligence
It's normal for people to make mistakes. Sometimes individuals forget to do something that's part of their normal routine at work, or simply do not realize there's a situation that needs to be addressed. This is an example of carelessness, for which you cannot be held criminally culpable. An example of carelessness includes forgetting to clean up a spill that results in another person's slip and fall. While the courts may hold you liable it's unlike that you will receive any criminal charges for this action–though you may face a civil lawsuit. Alternately, an example of negligence would be that you were fully aware of the spill. Perhaps you saw it or someone told you about it and you decided not to clean it up, despite the fact that you knew it may pose a risk to others. This is negligence. It's important to note that a person does not have to sustain an injury in order for you to receive charges of criminal negligence. A person must only face exposure to the potential of injury as a result of your action or inaction. Establishing criminal negligence is highly nuanced and there are many details and facets involved in each unique case. The courts may apply the charge in a wide variety of circumstances, which is what makes it so important to hire a defense attorney if you are facing charges for criminal negligence in Florida.
Examples of Criminal Negligence
When looking at criminal negligence, Florida prosecutors may file the charge in a wide variety of situations. Many individuals find themselves surprised when facing charges for criminal negligence–the charge is often part of a bigger case. See below for several examples, where individuals may receive charges for criminal negligence.
Child Neglect or Endangerment
Oftentimes, individuals who are facing charges for child neglect or endangerment also receive charges of criminal negligence. The courts take any crime involving a child particularly seriously, making it imperative that you hire an attorney to defend you. If you are a parent the custody of your children may be on the line. Examples of criminal negligence that occur with child neglect or endangerment can include possessing or being under the influence of drugs around children, having an improperly secured firearm within reach of children, and more. Other examples include leaving children in hot cars or consciously leaving them unsupervised in dangerous situations, such as by open pools or the ocean.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
You may also face charges for criminal negligence in conjunction with criminal traffic offenses. Instances such as texting and driving, street racing, and driving while intoxicated can result in the criminal charge if you cause an accident.
Cases for medical malpractice may also bring about criminal negligence charges. Failure to test a patient exhibiting specific symptoms for an illness, improperly prescribing medication, or over-prescribing medication may all lead to charges. Prematurely discharging a patient from the hospital when they are still in apparent need of care may also qualify.
Firearms charges may also come with the allegation of criminal negligence. Remember, you do not have to physically injure a person to receive charges if the prosecutor's office can prove that your actions put another person at risk. Mishandling a firearm, such as brandishing it in public, interfering with a person who is handling a firearm, and more can result in charges. There are many more situations where criminal negligence charges may apply–this is not an all-inclusive list. However, there are stipulations that outline whether or not the prosecutor's office can try the charge as a felony or a misdemeanor.
Felony vs. Misdemeanor Charges
If the charge involves any type of gun or weapon, your criminal negligence charges will automatically be a felony. Additionally, if an individual under the age of 16 is hurt or dies as a result of your actions you will also face felony charges. These charges can result in multiple years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines. If no one is hurt as a result of your actions, you may receive a misdemeanor charge that comes with the possibility of several months in jail and hundreds of dollars in fines. If an individual over the age of 16 sustains an injury, yet does not die, you may also face a misdemeanor charge with up to one year in jail. However, it's important to remember that sentencing is at the discretion of the judge and you need an aggressive lawyer on your side fighting to prove your innocence and keep you out of jail.