Sad girl looking out windowThis is the next post in my series on the handling of child endangerment charges in Peoria, Illinois. My last article discussed whether child endangerment is a felony or a misdemeanor in our state. It is important to understand that, while a first offense will typically be charged as a misdemeanor, additional facts can result in the matter being a felony. Also, additional felony counts may be brought in conjunction with a misdemeanor charge. It is strongly suggested that you speak with a criminal defense attorney immediately in order to gain a full understanding of your particular situation. In this article I will be discussing how such matters can impact child custody cases. If you are in need of assistance then contact us today to speak with a lawyer.

An Illinois child endangerment conviction will often lead to a change in child custody

Illinois is like many other states in that the sole concern in any child custody case is for the best interest of the child. Factors the Court will consider, when determining what is in a child’s best interests, include their mental and physical needs. The Court will also consider the ability of each parent to meet those needs. For obvious reasons, a parent who is convicted of child endangerment is a) failing to meet the child’s need for safety, and b) proving their own inability to meet the needs of the youth. A court may very well do one of two things after such a conviction is entered. First, the Judge may hold that the offending parent may only receive supervised visitation. Second, the Judge may rule that the offending parent’s visitation is suspended until their situation is shown to be more stable. It is important to remember, however, that how the Court will rule in any given circumstance will always depend on the specific facts of the case.

The foregoing is best explained by way of example. Suppose a parent is pulled over for drunk driving. Their five-year old child is in the back seat and is not wearing a seatbelt or any other form of safety device. The offending parent is charged, and convicted, for both DUI and child endangerment. The other parent files a Motion to change child custody. Discovery shows, through the obtaining of the parent’s bank records, that they are regularly drinking to excess at bars. Under this scenario, the Court would likely rule that the offending parent may only have supervised visitation until they can demonstrate that they have been sober for a prolonged period of time. Again, each case will be situation specific and it is important that you speak with a lawyer.

The process of changing child custody after a parent has been charged with child endangerment

The child will typically be taken into the care of law enforcement when a parent is arrested for endangerment. The other parent will typically be notified immediately and, depending on the nature of the case, will typically be able to take custody of the child relatively quickly. The non-offending parent will then typically file a Motion for an immediate change of custody and will ask for an immediate hearing. In such situations, the Judge will often grant a temporary change and a more permanent ruling will not be issued until the criminal matter is resolved. Both the criminal and family law aspects of such matters can quickly become complicated. It is important that you speak with an attorney as soon as possible.

I am a Peoria lawyer who handles matters related to both criminal defense and family law. If you are in need of legal assistance then contact my office today to schedule an initial consultation. We pride ourselves on providing the highest level of service and we look forward to being of assistance. I also service the cities of Bloomington, Eureka, Galesburg, Morton, Normal, Pekin, Springfield, and Washington. I serve the counties of Fulton, Knox, LaSalle, Marshall, Mason, McLean, Putnam, Rock Island, Schuyler, Stark, Tazewell, and Woodford.