Almost everything that Illinois courts do with issues pertaining to children is in the child’s best interests and to protect the child’s wellbeing. Illinois courts believe that children have an inherent right to have loving, safe and caring homes, which is why any and all accusations of child abuse, neglect and endangerment are taken very seriously. Being accused of child endangerment is a serious situation. Not only will you face criminal charges and punishments, but you will also face stigma from friends, family, coworkers and other people who access your criminal record.
What is Child Endangerment?
According to Illinois law, child endangerment occurs when a person knowingly “causes or permits a child to be placed in circumstances that endanger the child’s life or health.” Though this is a rather vague statement, it is typically understood that child endangerment charges are entered when a person puts a child in immediate danger. Common examples of child endangerment include:
- Leaving a child unattended for more than 10 minutes;
- Using illegal drugs in front of a child or while the child is in your care;
- Driving with a child in the vehicle while you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
- Failing to report child abuse or neglect; and
- Having unsecured firearms in the same vicinity as the child.
Consequences of Child Endangerment Charges
Because criminal charges involving children are taken so seriously, if you are convicted of child endangerment, expecting a judge to go easy on you would be unwise. A first offense of child endangerment is a Class A misdemeanor. This means that you could face up to a year in jail and up to $2,500 in fines. A second or subsequent offense is a Class 3 felony, which carries a two to five-year jail sentence and up to $25,000 in fines. If the child died and the event that the child endangerment charges stemmed from is found to be a proximate cause of the child’s death, it is also classified as a Class 3 felony, though you will face a minimum of 2 years and a maximum of 10 years in jail.
Are You Facing Child Endangerment Charges? A Skilled Joliet, IL Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help
Child endangerment charges are very serious and should be treated so. Defending against child endangerment charges can prove to be challenging, but it is not impossible. If you are facing child endangerment charges, you need to call a skilled Will County criminal defense attorney immediately. At the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba, P.C., we can help you avoid a conviction at all costs. Call our office today at 815-740-4025 to set up a free consultation