A Pembroke Pines woman has been arrested and charged with child neglect (third-degree felony) and tampering in a third-degree felony proceeding (second-degree felony).
Witnesses allege that the woman was driving in Pembroke Pines when she turned and her car door opened. Out of the open car door fell a sixteen-month child who had not been properly secured into a carseat.
The woman allegedly got out of the car, put the child back inside, and drove off. Witnesses called police and the woman was apprehended at a local CVS pharmacy.
The child is fine and did not require serious medical treatment.
The charge of child neglect alleges that the woman cared for the child in a legally negligent manner without causing serious harm to the child. The tampering charge is likely the result of having left the scene and placing the child back inside the car. If formal charges are filed, I believe that the tampering charge will not be filed as it's likely the woman did not intend to tamper with a felony investigation; she was merely trying to put her child back in the car.
Any case involving a child can trigger an investigation by the Department of Child and Families. This can result in the loss of child custody.
Eric Matheny is a criminal defense attorney serving clients in Miami and Broward.