Chicago Child Endangerment Defense Attorneys
Accused of endangering the life of a child? Contact the Chicago defense firm Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC today to get experienced representation.
There are number of Illinois laws which criminalize the endangerment of others, but there are also specific laws and penalties that are set forth for parents who endanger the life of any child. If you are charged with child endangerment, it may not only affect your criminal record, but your parental rights as well. For these reasons, it is of the utmost importance to fully understand the laws in Chicago and throughout Illinois.
What Does It Mean to Endanger the Life of a Child?
Because children are typically more vulnerable than adults, Illinois has very strict laws that deal with child endangerment. As a result, there are sometimes harsher penalties for those charged with endangering a child rather than that of an adult. Depending on the severity of the situation and the severity of the harm done to the child, you could be charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony. State law dictates that an individual endangers the life of a child when:
- The actions knowingly endanger the life or health of a child under the age of 18
- The actions knowingly place a child in circumstances that will endanger his or her life or health
This is a very broad definition, and you may be charged with child endangerment even if you do not directly cause a dangerous situation. Some examples of child endangerment include:
- Leaving a child unattended in a car, especially one who is under the age of 6.
- Leaving children under the age of 14 unattended in a car when it is dangerously hot or cold outside
- Failing to remove a child under the age of 18 from a dangerous or abusive home or social environment
- Driving under the influence with a child under the age of 18 in the car
- Leaving behind a young child without proper supervision
Child Endangerment Defenses
Child endangerment cases require an experienced attorney to properly represent the client because prosecutors will often interpret the law in a somewhat flexible fashion to fit the facts of the case. They do not necessarily have to specifically show that your actions were intentional to prove child endangerment. This means that even if you didn’t think the situation at hand was dangerous and even if the child wasn’t harmed, you might still be in danger of a conviction because you knowingly acted in a way that put the child at risk in any event.
The right criminal defense attorney will work to counter prosecutorial evidence with proven defense strategies which could include arguing that the risk surrounding the alleged endangerment was much lower than the charge dictates, that the child was never in actual danger, that the adult was (in the case of leaving a child in the car) still watching the child from afar, or that the child was not left alone for as long as alleged. if you are found guilty or plead guilty to a charge of child endangerment and comply with all the terms of your sentence, an experienced attorney may under some sentencing alternatives still be able to get your case dismissed or your record expunged or sealed.
Contact an Experienced Defense Attorney Today
Being charged with endangering the life of a child can be a frightening prospect. That is why it’s important to have a criminal defense attorney who understands the importance of the case at hand and who will work tirelessly for fair treatment by the criminal justice system. If you are facing child endangerment charges, call the criminal defense attorneys at Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC right away at (800) 996-4824 for a free initial consultation at either of our convenient office locations in Arlington Heights or Chicago. We are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.