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Criminal Charges for Leaving Child in a Vehicle

Friday / May 1, 2015

Roughly 20 states have specific laws making it illegal to leave a child unattended in a vehicle. However, Arizona is not one of these states. Arizona does have several laws that can be used to prosecute someone who leaves a child in a hot car. A person who leaves a child in a hot car can face charges of child endangerment, child abuse, manslaughter, and potentially murder.


Some of these potential charges may seem severe. However, according to statistics, the temperature inside a vehicle can rise about 20 degrees in a matter of just 10 minutes. These drastic rises in temperatures can lead to heatstroke. Heatstroke occurs when a person’s temperature rises above 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Children’s body temperatures warm at a rate of 3 to 5 times faster than an adult’s. Leaving a child in a hot vehicle is more dangerous as it can result in danger to the child at a faster rate than to the adult persons. More information on this can be found at


Just this year, there have been three incidents alone in the Greater Phoenix area. One of which resulted in the death of a two and a half-year-old boy. The young boy was left in the car in front of the family’s west Phoenix home. The other two incidents occurred outside of grocery stores in Tempe and Mesa with the intention of only making a quick trip inside. These cases resulted in the parties being arrested for suspicion of child endangerment, child abuse, and manslaughter.


Remember, temperatures inside a vehicle can rise quickly resulting in injury or even death. If you or anyone you know has been charged with a crime, immediately seek an attorney’s help to ensure the accused’s rights are protected. To schedule a no obligation consultation with my office, visit my website at or by calling me at 480-331-7568.

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