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Can You Leave Your Child in Your Car While It's Running in Texas?


Tragically, several children have lost their lives throughout the years because they were left unattended in a hot car or truck. Few things, if any, are as sad as the death of a child, especially if it was the result of something preventable. Still, not all situations where a child is left in a vehicle unattended result in the child dying or even facing any danger whatsoever.

In some cases, a parent leaves their young children in a locked car for less than five minutes with the vehicle still running and the air conditioner on full blast. This is a far cry from someone leaving a child in a hot car unattended for hours or even 10 or 20 minutes. However, despite the difference between the levels of danger the two scenarios present, depending on how the incidents play out, both can result in parents facing legal penalties.

Can I Go to Jail for Leaving My Child in My Car While It’s Running in Texas?

Whether the vehicle is left running or not, there are situations where someone can go to jail for leaving their child in their vehicle unattended. In many cases, leaving a child in a car or truck unattended is considered a form of child neglect or child endangerment.

In Texas, it is a crime to leave a minor who is 6 years old or younger in a vehicle unattended for more than five minutes. However, it is legal in Texas to leave a child under 7 years old in a car or truck if there is a person 14 years old or older in the vehicle with the child.

If an adult leaves anyone under 18 years old in a vehicle unattended and that minor is injured because of the heat or anything else, that adult can face charges for felony child endangerment or child abandonment.

The punishments if you’re convicted for leaving a child unattended in a vehicle in Texas can include but are not limited to the following:

  • Class C Misdemeanor – $500 in fines.
  • State Jail Felony – $10,000 in fines and up to two years in jail.
  • Third-Degree Felony – Up to 10 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.
  • Second-Degree Felony – $10,000 in fines and up to 20 years in prison.

Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with Our Experienced Leaving a Child in a Vehicle Defense Attorney

If you are facing a charge for leaving your child in your vehicle unattended in Texas, you need to take the charge very seriously and act quickly. The penalties for a conviction can be severe and could negatively affect your life and your relationship with your kids for years to come.

Derek A. Adame, Attorney at Law has been providing counsel for criminal matters for nearly 25 years. Attorney Adame was a prosecutor for years before he became a criminal defense attorney. His experience as a prosecutor gives him the upper hand when it comes to designing defense strategies to combat the prosecution’s tactics. Attorney Adame understands how the prosecution thinks and how to defend his clients against them.

For more information about Derek A. Adame, Attorney at Law, and his long history of successfully defending his clients, review his case results.

Facing charges for leaving a child in a vehicle unattended? Call our experienced leaving a child in a vehicle defense lawyer at 940.441.4239 or reach out to us online for a free case evaluation.

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