March 2, 2023
Child Abandonment Attorney in Cook County
Child abandonment is an extremely serious charge in Illinois. Both State and Federal laws are carefully curated to protect children, especially in situations in which abuse or abandonment may have occurred. Abandonment is considered to fall under the purview of mandatory reporters, meaning those professions that are required to report such situations will do so if they suspect abandonment has occurred. Child Abandonment is a very serious offense, and a first time offender can expect to be charged with a Class 4 Felony, with the penalties becoming more severe dependent on the amount of previous violations.
Defining Child Abandonment in Illinois
A person commits child abandonment when he or she, as a parent, guardian, or other person having physical custody or control of a child, without regard for the mental or physical health, safety, or welfare of that child, knowingly leaves that child who is under the age of 13 without supervision by a responsible person over the age of 14 for a period of 24 hours or more. It is not a violation of this Section for a person to relinquish a child in accordance with the Abandoned Newborn Infant Protection Act.
There are 15 factors that the Judge or Jury shall consider when determining whether or not child abandonment has occurred, those factors are:
The age of the child;
The number of children left at the location;
Special needs of the child, including whether the child is a person with a physical or mental disability, or otherwise in need of ongoing prescribed medical treatment such as periodic doses of insulin or other medications;
The duration of time in which the child was left without supervision;
The condition and location of the place where the child was left without supervision;
The time of day or night when the child was left without supervision;
The weather conditions, including whether the child was left in a location with adequate protection from the natural elements such as adequate heat or light;
The location of the parent, guardian, or other person having physical custody or control of the child at the time the child was left without supervision, the physical distance the child was from the parent, guardian, or other person having physical custody or control of the child at the time the child was without supervision;
Whether the child's movement was restricted, or the child was otherwise locked within a room or other structure;
Whether the child was given a phone number of a person or location to call in the event of an emergency and whether the child was capable of making an emergency call;
Whether there was food and other provision left for the child;
Whether any of the conduct is attributable to economic hardship or illness and the parent, guardian or other person having physical control or custody of the child made a good faith effort to provide for the health and safety of the child;
The age and physical and mental capabilities of the person or persons who provided supervision for the child;
Any other factor that would endanger the health or safety of that particular child;
whether the child was left under the supervision of another person.
There is no special number of factors that need to be reached in order for a determination that Child Abandonment has occurred. The determination is dependent on the facts of the case, that being said, the more factors present within one case raises the likelihood that the trier of fact will find that child abandonment has occurred.
There are some defenses that exist to the charge of Child Abandonment, for instance, if certain factors fall within a families cultural traditions, if the parent/guardian committed child abandonment while in the process of safely surrendering the child to a third party, and a parents right to discipline their children as they see fit. While raising any of these defenses are not a guarantee of prevailing at a future trial or hearing, they do allow for more context to be provided to a case that otherwise involves a very sensitive set of facts.
Penalties for Child Abandonment
Child Abandonment is a very serious offense, and a first time offender will be charged with a Class 4 Felony. A subsequent offense after previously being convicted of the charge becomes a Class 3 Felony. While a parent charged with this crime can obtain probation, it's not a guarantee that it will be offered in any particular case.
If you've been charged with Child Abandonment, contact Angelillo Law today for a free consultation.
Child Abandonment is a very serious offense, that carry penalties which may drastically change your life. What you need is an attorney who will analyze the specific facts of your case against the factors considered in the Statute. If you've been charged with Child Abandonment, contact Angelillo Law today for a free consultation.