There are numerous rules and regulations regarding your conduct when driving and how it may endanger children in your vehicle. Even if no actual harm was done to a child, breaking these rules could result in serious criminal charges related to child endangerment, cruelty, or neglect. As there tends to be plenty of media attention surrounding such cases and a strong public outcry, it is important to get an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side immediately. A recent incident involving a Bay Area father highlights the potential ramifications that can result.
Bay Area Father Faces Charges of Child Cruelty
A San Carlos man faces criminal charges after falling asleep in his vehicle and leaving his child to cry in the backseat. The incident happened at approximately 4:30 p.m., in a parking lot off of Laurel Drive. The child and the father were discovered after people nearby flagged down a passing San Carlos Sheriff’s Department officer, saying they could hear a baby screaming in the vehicle.
Investigators report that the car was in park and the engine was turned off as the 39-year-old father slept behind the wheel in the front seat. Behind him and strapped into a safety seat sat his daughter, crying and in obvious distress. Officers do not know how long the man was there, but, despite having the windows partially open, the temperature inside the vehicle was dangerously high.
As the child received medical attention, it took police several efforts to rouse the father, who was under the influence of alcohol and marijuana at the time. He was booked into jail on charges of public intoxication and child cruelty. Fortunately, the child is expected to recover. Sadly, as many as 40 children have died so far this year as a result of being left in vehicles.
Motor Vehicles and Child Endangerment Charges
Under Section 273 of the California Penal Code, there are a variety of different actions pertaining to motor vehicles which could result in charges of child endangerment, cruelty, or neglect. In addition to mistakenly leaving a child alone in a hot car, other behaviors that could result in criminal charges include:
- Leaving a child alone in a running vehicle while you run errands;
- Not properly restraining a child in a car safety seat;
- Driving under the influence while a child is in the vehicle; and
- Speeding or engaging in other reckless behaviors that result in a car accident while a child is a passenger.
Contact Our San Jose Attorneys Today for Help
Parents, other family members, friends, or daycare providers can all face charges related to the above types of actions. In addition to criminal penalties, you may lose the right to be with the child unsupervised. To protect yourself, get the Jachimowicz Law Group on your side. To schedule a free consultation, call our office or contact our skilled San Jose criminal attorneys online today.