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Endangerment and Abandonment of Children

July 20th, 2015 at 7:49 pm

Illinois defense lawyer, crimes against children, Illinois criminal attorney,Parenting a child is hard. It is one of the hardest things there is to do, and while there are plenty of books on it there is no one agreed upon instruction manual that works for parenting every single child. Because of this the government has traditionally given parents significant leeway when it comes to making parenting choices. However, particularly in modern times, there are some sorts of parenting issues in which the government does involve itself. While the physical or sexual abuse of a child are some of the most drastic cases, issues like child endangerment and abandonment can also result in criminal charges.

What Is the Crime of Child Endangerment?

While the crime of child endangerment seems like it could include almost anything, it has a narrow definition defined by Illinois law. In order to be guilty of this crime a person must either (1) cause or allow the life or health of a child under the age of 18 to be endangered, or (2) cause or allow a child to be put in circumstances that endanger his or her life or health. A common cause of this sort of charge is leaving a child unattended in hot car. As a general rule a child under age six is considered “unattended” if he or she is left in the car for more than 10 minutes, although the jury can consider other issues. Depending on whether the offense is a first offense and whether the child dies as a result of the endangerment, this crime can be a felony or a misdemeanor. If the person who endangers the child is the child’s parent there is a special program under which the parent can be placed on probation and, if the parent cooperates and works with the Department of Family and Children’s Services, the charges may be dismissed.

What Is the Crime of Child Abandonment?

Abandonment is another crime related to the care of children. This crime happens where a parent, guardian, or other person who has physical custody of a child knowingly leaves a child under age 13 without supervision by a person over the age of 14 for a period of 24 hours or more. This must be done without regard for the health, safety, or welfare of the child. There are multiple factors that are considered in these cases including:

  • The child’s age;
  • The number of children left unattended;
  • Any special needs of the child;
  • How long the child is left;
  • The condition and location of the place the child is left;
  • What time of day the child is left;
  • The weather conditions;
  • Where the allegedly abandoning adult went when he or she left the child;
  • Whether the child’s movement was restricted;
  • Whether the child was given a number to call if there were an emergency;
  • Whether the child was left with food;
  • Whether the conduct was because of an economic hardship or illness;
  • The age and capabilities of the person providing supervision for the child;
  • Any other factor that could endanger the health or safety of the child; and
  • Whether the child was left under the supervision of another person.

If the defendant in these cases is the child’s parent, then the defendant may be eligible for the same sort of probation leading to dismissal that is allowed in some child endangerment cases.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

When you are charged with a crime, there are many decisions you have to make. Will you post bail? Will you have a trial or seek out a plea agreement? If you are having a trial, what sort of defense will you use and what witnesses will you call? One of the most important decisions you make, however, will be who you select as your attorney. You will need the help of an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today at (847)394-3200.

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