Can I Be Charged for Leaving My Child Alone in a Vehicle in Illinois?

 Posted on December 01,2020 in Criminal Law

Arlington Heights, IL criminal defense attorney child endangerment

In today’s world, everyone is busier than ever, especially parents. Every second of every day seems to be filled with something, making it necessary to save time anywhere you can. In some cases, there just is not enough time to take your child in and out of their car seat every time you have to run an errand, especially if you are just making a quick stop, such as picking up prescriptions. According to Safe Kids, around 14 percent of parents have admitted to intentionally leaving their infants, toddlers, and kindergarten-aged children in a parked vehicle. While this may seem convenient to some, you could end up facing serious criminal charges in Illinois if you leave your child unattended in a vehicle. 

Understanding Child Endangerment Charges

According to the Illinois Criminal Code, child endangerment can be defined in two different ways. Child endangerment can mean:

  • Any act that causes or allows the life or health of a child under the age of 18 to be endangered

  • Causing or permitting a child to be placed into circumstances that endanger the child’s health

Specifically, Illinois legislation states that it is against the law to leave a child under the age of 6 alone in a motor vehicle for more than 10 minutes. A child is considered to be unattended if the child is not with a person who is at least 14 years old or if the child is with someone who is at least 14 years old, but out of sight of that person. 

A first-time violation of the child endangerment statute is charged as a Class A misdemeanor, meaning you could face up to one year in jail and up to $2,500 in fines. Depending on the circumstances of your situation, you may be eligible to be sentenced to probation for the charges if you are the parent of the child in question. However, second and subsequent offenses will be charged as Class 3 felonies.

Contact an Arlington Heights, IL Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

If you have been charged with child endangerment, child neglect, or other charges related to leaving your child unattended in a vehicle, you need to speak with a skilled Rolling Meadows, IL criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Scott F. Anderson, Attorney at Law will do everything in his power to prevent a criminal conviction. To get started on your case and schedule a free consultation, call our office today at 847-253-3400.




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