Attorney Eric D. Puryear

Endangering the Life or Health of a Child Charges in Illinois

Puryear Law » Legal Blog » Illinois Criminal Law » Endangering the Life or Health of a Child Charges in Illinois

The Illinois crime of Endangering the Life or Health of a Child is defined in 720 ILCS 5/12C-5 as follows:


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(a) A person commits endangering the life or health of a child when he or she knowingly: (1) causes or permits the life or health of a child under the age of 18 to be endangered; or (2) causes or permits a child to be placed in circumstances that endanger the child’s life or health. It is not a violation of this Section for a person to relinquish a child in accordance with the Abandoned Newborn Infant Protection Act.
(b) A trier of fact may infer that a child 6 years of age or younger is unattended if that child is left in a motor vehicle for more than 10 minutes.
(c) “Unattended” means either: (i) not accompanied by a person 14 years of age or older; or (ii) if accompanied by a person 14 years of age or older, out of sight of that person.
(d) Sentence. A violation of this Section is a Class A misdemeanor. A second or subsequent violation of this Section is a Class 3 felony. A violation of this Section that is a proximate cause of the death of the child is a Class 3 felony for which a person, if sentenced to a term of imprisonment, shall be sentenced to a term of not less than 2 years and not more than 10 years. A parent, who is found to be in violation of this Section with respect to his or her child, may be sentenced to probation for this offense pursuant to Section 12C-15.

As can be seen from the above portion of the Illinois Compiled Statutes, Endangering the Life or Health of a Child is a serious crime in Illinois that can result in a jail sentence or even a prison sentence.  Such a charge or conviction can also result in other court actions including a custody modification or juvenile court case.

Any person accused of Endangering the Life or Health of a Child in Illinois is wise to seek an attorney at once, as it is vital that the case is properly handled.


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