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child abuse, neglect, Kane County criminal defense attorneySometimes all it takes for a child abuse investigation to get underway is a phone call from a neighbor. Once an investigation has begun, it is easy for parents to agree to anything that will allow them to try and keep their child in the home. Unfortunately, it is often that instinct that allows parents to have their rights violated.

Two Different Investigations

In the state of Illinois, it is often the Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) that first gets a report of child abuse or child neglect. Depending on the nature of the allegations or suspicions, DCFS may notify local law enforcement of the reported concerns. In such a situation, the police and DCFS may each be conducting their own separate investigation and sharing relevant information about your case.

While a DCFS investigation is technically a family court issue related to a civil matter, their investigation can still have serious criminal consequences. Anything you say to a welfare worker or agency representative may ultimately be used on your behalf or against you in a criminal trial.

Consequences of Conviction

There are several different child abuse and child neglect crimes. One of the most common is called  child endangerment, and this crime covers a wide range of conduct. A recent, alarming trend around the country has seen such charges brought against parents who left their children in hot cars unattended, sometimes with tragic results. Even without a negative outcome to your child, you could face child endangerment charges for leaving your child under the age of six in a car for as little as ten minutes.

While some first-time child neglect offenses are Class A misdemeanors, most crimes with child victims are felonies. This means that a single conviction could bring prison sentences for first-time offenders of three years or longer, depending on the circumstances.

In addition to jail or prison time, a criminal conviction for child abuse or neglect makes a DCFS action against you almost certain. You can have your child removed from your home and placed in foster care for a period of time. You could even be facing the restriction or termination of your parental rights.

If you are convicted of a child abuse or child neglect crime, you may not be able to get certain professional licenses or obtain certain security clearances. Your ability to find work could be compromised and you may be prohibited from working with children in many situations, including volunteering at your child’s school.

When you have been accused or charged with child abuse, child endangerment, or child neglect, you need to speak to a tough and dedicated Elgin criminal defense lawyer right away. You should not discuss your case with anyone, including law enforcement or a DCFS representative until you have consulted with an attorney. Call 847-488-0889 today to schedule a free consultation at the The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=032500050K3

http://www.abcactionnews.com/news/region-pinellas/in-2015-nine-children-have-died-nationwide-after-being-left-in-hot-cars-3-were-florida-children
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