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What Kind of Offenses Constitute Child Endangerment in Illinois?

Posted on in Criminal Defense

Will County criminal defense attorneyAlthough you may have heard the phrase “child endangerment” before, you may not know exactly what it means. Because the definition of child endangerment encompasses a few different criminal acts, offenders may engage in a wide variety of conduct. Child endangerment generally refers to an action or inaction that causes a child to suffer psychological, emotional, or physical abuse.

Under Illinois law, an individual may be found guilty of child endangerment if he or she knowingly causes or allows the well-being of a child under the age of 18 to be endangered. This can also include causing or permitting a child to be placed in a situation that endangers the child’s life or health. In some cases, false allegations or unintentional acts could result in these types of criminal charges, so it is critical to seek legal counsel if you or someone you know is facing these serious charges. 

Examples of Actions That Could Harm a Child 

Some people simply do not know the laws when it comes to activities or behaviors that are considered child endangerment. For example, they may not realize at what age a child can be left unattended, either at home or in a car. In other circumstances, not taking action if a child is being abused in any way can be classified as endangering him or her, even if someone was just a witness and not the alleged abuser. 

According to Illinois statute, child endangerment offenses include but are not limited to the following:

  • Leaving a child age 6 or younger in an unattended motor vehicle for more than 10 minutes
  • Leaving a child who is under 18 in an abandoned home or building
  • Failing to remove a child under 18 years old from a violent and/or abusive situation
  • Possessing and/or using drugs in front of a child who is under 18
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol with a child under the age of 18 as a passenger

Penalties for Child Endangerment

Under Illinois law, “unattended” means someone is unescorted by a person age 14 or older, or if accompanied by an individual who is 14 or older, he or she is out of sight of that person. A first offense of child endangerment is a Class A misdemeanor. This means that you could face up to one year in jail and up to $2,500 in fines. Two-time or subsequent offenders can face a Class 3 felony, which may result in a two- to five-year jail sentence and up to $25,000 in fines. The punishments for child endangerment can be harsh and affect an alleged offender’s personal reputation as well as his or her professional life. 

Contact a Joliet Criminal Defense Attorney

Endangering a child is a crime in Illinois. This offense can result in various penalties, from costly fines to prison time. The accomplished law firm of McNamara Phelan McSteen, LLC understands how a false accusation of any crime against a child can be to your present and future. Our diligent Will County domestic violence defense lawyers will carefully review the evidence against you to build a solid defense to reduce or dismiss your charges altogether. To schedule your free consultation, call our office today at 815-727-0100. 

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=072000050HArt.+12C&ActID=1876&ChapterID=53&SeqStart=32050000&SeqEnd=32750000

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=072000050HArt%2E+12C&ActID=1876&ChapterID=53&SeqStart=32300000&SeqEnd=34200000

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=1460&ChapterID=32

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072006460K50

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