The Consequences of Leaving Your Child Unattended in a Vehicle in Texas

We live in a very busy world today where we look to the quickest possible way to take care of something.  If you are running some errands and only want to go into a store for a few minutes, you may decide to leave your car with the flasher lights on at the front curb of the store to avoid a long walk from the main parking lot.  What you may not know is that if you have a child that you leave in your car unattended, you may be subject to criminal penalties.

Under Texas law, if you are aware that your child is in the car and leave your child in the car for even just five minutes, you may be charged with a crime that is considered a class C misdemeanor.  The law states that the child must be less than seven years old and left alone.  If there is another child in the car who is at least fourteen years old, then this older child may lawfully supervise the younger child.  The crime of leaving your young child unattended in a vehicle is part of the least severe class of misdemeanors, but it is still a charge that you may have to face.  Along with a criminal charge comes fines and possibly appearing in court.

We all know how hot Texas summers can be.  There are many safety concerns with leaving your child unattended in your car.  You may only intend to be in a store for a few minutes, but that few minutes could turn into ten, twenty or even thirty minutes if there are long lines in the store or if there’s something else holding you up in the store that is out of your control.  Not only is your child’s health at risk, but your child could be abducted or injured.  Your child may find a way to release the brake on the car or roll the windows up so that there is no ventilation on a hot day.

Even though the law states that your child must be under the age of seven and unattended, don’t read this to mean that it is okay to leave your child unattended if he or she is seven years of age or older.  You still may be charged with a crime if a police officer is unsure of the child’s age and you will have to plead your case in court.  Further, it is still in both you and your child’s best interest to avoid leaving your child unattended, regardless of your child’s age.

Contact an Attorney Who Specializes in Class C Misdemeanor Defense

If you have been charged with leaving your child unattended in a motor vehicle, whether it be a car, van or trailer, and that child is under the age of seven, you should contact an attorney experienced in the area of class C misdemeanor defense.  Attorney Jack Pettit has over thirty years of experience as a criminal defense attorney.  Mr. Pettit has represented thousands of clients in a variety of criminal cases, but he is especially skilled in the area of defending clients charged with class C misdemeanors.  Going to court alone without the comfort and advice of a seasoned attorney may leave you with a criminal record that could have been avoided.  Allow Mr. Pettit to investigate your situation.  No matter how small a criminal charge may be, it could come back to haunt you later on in life.  Please call 214-521-4567 to speak with Mr. Pettit about your case.  We conveniently offer bilingual services in English and Spanish.  We also accept major credit cards.

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