In Illinois, endangering the life or health of a child is a Class A misdemeanor for a first offense and a Class 3 felony for subsequent offenses. The offense includes knowingly allowing or causing the endangerment or permitting the child to be placed in an endangering situation. (See 720 ILCS 5/12C-5.)

Under the law, if you leave a child age 6 or younger, unaccompanied by someone at least age 14 and out of your sight, the child may be considered unattended. Illinois courts have convicted parents for leaving a baby in a car for close to an hour and leaving a loaded gun within reach of a child. p>If you are convicted of child endangerment, a judge may defer judgment of your guilt by placing you on probation and requiring you to cooperate with the Department of Child and Family Services. If you successfully complete these terms, the case against you may be dismissed. (See 720 ILCS 5/12C-15).

If you have been charged with endangering a child or a similar offense, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. As with most criminal offenses, the state must prove all the elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. Can the state prove that you were the person who endangered the child or that you did it knowingly? Even if the evidence against you is overwhelming, an attorney who is respected in the courthouse may be able to negotiate a more favorable plea agreement than you could on your own.

If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email matt@mattkeenanlaw.com.

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

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