Since children are vulnerable, Illinois law aims to ensure the best interest
of every child is always a top priority. When a person is charged with
child endangerment, the state’s criminal justice system seeks to
inflict severe punishment to deter individuals from harming or posing
a serious risk of harm to children.
Illinois Child Endangerment Laws
According to Illinois law, a person may be found guilty of child endangerment
if he or her knowingly:
- Causes, allows, or permits the life or health of a child under 18 years
old to be endangered
- Causes, allows, or permits a child to be placed in circumstances which
endanger the child’s life or health
Examples of child endangerment include, but not limited to, the following:
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs with a child under 18 years
of age as a passenger
- Possessing or using drugs in front of a child under 18 years old
- Leaving a child who is six years of age or younger in an unattended motor
vehicle for over 10 minutes
- Leaving a child under 18 years old in an abandoned home or building
- Failing to remove a child under 18 years old from a violent or abusive
A conviction of child endangerment is considered a Class A misdemeanor,
punishable by a maximum jail sentence of one year and a fine of up to
$2,500. If the convicted person is a parent, the sentence may be probation.
A second or subsequent conviction of child endangerment is a Class 3 felony,
which is punishable by a prison sentence ranging from two to ten years.
How a Chicago Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help You
In most cases, those charged with child endangerment are worried about
the expenses of hiring professional legal assistance. Although quality
legal representation comes at a price, the risk of going to prison and
obtaining a permanent mark on your criminal record is not worth the savings
associated with a public defender.
In addition, due to the time constraints and the overwhelming amount of
cases public defenders often handle, there may not be enough time to obtain
the most favorable results possible. On many occasions, a public defender
will attempt to reach a plea deal, as opposed to complete dismissal of
your entire case.
It is also imperative to remember that parents may lose their parental
rights upon conviction of child endangerment, depending on the severity
and nature of the case. When parental rights are on the line, having the
best legal counsel possible is necessary.
If you were recently arrested and charged with child endangerment in Chicago,
Law Office of Steven Fine today.