Understanding Illinois Child Endangerment Charges

Posted on in Criminal Law

Arlington Heights, IL child endangerment defense attorney

When it comes to children in Illinois, the state does the best job it can to protect the innocence and well-being of its young citizens. In civil matters involving children, the child’s best interests are always at the top of the list of concerns. Illinois lawmakers, police officers, and other criminal justice personnel view crimes against children as extremely serious matters. One of the most commonly charged crimes against children is child endangerment, which encompasses a variety of behaviors. These charges can mean serious consequences for perpetrators, which is why it is important to understand these offenses and their penalties.

What Is Child Endangerment?

According to the Illinois Criminal Code, child endangerment occurs when a person knowingly causes or allows the life or health of a child under the age of 18 to be endangered or causes or allows the child to be placed in circumstances that endanger the life and health of the child. The statute concerning child endangerment is rather vague, which allows prosecutors and judges to consider a wide variety of behaviors to be prosecuted as child endangerment. Common examples of situations in which child endangerment charges may arise can include:

  • Leaving a child under the age of six unattended in a motor vehicle for longer than 10 minutes

  • Abandoning a child under the age of 18

  • Possessing and/or using illicit drugs while a child is in one's care

  • Operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol with a child in the vehicle

  • Failing to remove a child from a known abusive or neglectful environment

What Penalties Do Perpetrators of Child Endangerment Face?

In general, child endangerment is charged as a Class A misdemeanor. In Illinois, being convicted of a Class A misdemeanor means you face up to one year in prison, and you may also face up to $2,500 in fines. Child endangerment charges typically do not become felony charges unless a child has died because of endangerment or the offense is a second or subsequent child endangerment conviction. In either of those situations, the charges would become Class 3 felony charges, which carry 2 to 10 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines.

Contact a Rolling Meadows, IL Child Endangerment Defense Attorney

Any crime that is perpetrated against a child is a very serious matter. Even if you are not convicted and are merely just charged with a crime, that is something that will stay on your criminal record, and it can affect many other areas of your life. If you have been accused of child endangerment, you need to talk to a skilled Arlington Heights, IL criminal defense lawyer right away. Scott F. Anderson, Attorney at Law knows the consequences of crimes against children, and he can help you keep your name from being tarnished. Call our office today at 847-253-3400 to schedule a free consultation.