TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - The penalty for leaving a child unattended in a vehicle will increase this summer with legislation signed this week by Governor Charlie Crist.
A law that takes effect July 1 makes it a misdemeanor crime, rather than a traffic infraction, to leave a child under 6 years old in a vehicle without the engine running for 15 minutes or more.
Violators could be sentenced to up to 60 days in jail or a fine of up to 500 dollars.
Under the new law (SB 2), leaving a child under six in a running car for any length of time will still be a traffic infraction, punishable by a fine ranging from 50 to 500 dollars.
The measure also says that parents can't leave children in a car for any length of time if the "health of the child is in danger," although it does not spell out who should decide that.
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