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RobertJDFL
RobertJDFL, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
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Experience:  Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
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I left my child in the car alone few minutes.The police came

Customer Question

I left my child in the car alone for a few minutes.The police came by and spoke with me.What is the maximum penalty for doing this in West Virginia?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 11 months ago.

Thank you for using Just Answer. I look forward to assisting you.

West Virginia is one of a handful of states that doesn't have a specific law against leaving a child in a vehicle unattended. However, it could be seen as child neglect, which is found under Section 61-8D-4. More specifically, subsection (d)(1) states:

(d)(1) If a parent, guardian or custodian who has not been previously convicted under this section, section three of this article or a law of another state or the federal government with the same essential elements neglects a child and by that neglect creates a substantial risk of bodily injury, as defined in section one, article eight-b of this chapter, to the child, then the parent, guardian or custodian, is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, for a first offense, shall be fined not less than $100 nor more than $1,000 or confined in jail not more than six months, or both fined and confined.

Neglect is defined under the law as "the unreasonable failure by a parent, guardian or custodian of a minor child to exercise a minimum degree of care to assure the minor child's physical safety or health."

So, it is possible to be fined and or jailed for this, though for a first offense, especially since the child wasn't harmed in any manner, I would think probation and a fine would be much more likely. And, if the police didn't arrest you or issue you a citation for a court appearance, I think the matter is considered close at this point, and that if they were going to take action, they would have at the time they spoke with you.

Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 11 months ago.

If you have further questions or need clarification about this matter, please reply, and I'll be happy to assist you. Otherwise, kindly remember to leave me a positive rating (3-5 stars) as that is the only way experts on this site are paid for our time and expertise, even if you have previously left a deposit. Thank you.

Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 11 months ago.

If you need clarification or additional information, please reply, and I'll be happy to assist you. Otherwise, kindly remember to leave me a positive rating (3-5 stars) as that is the only way experts on this site are compensated for our time and expertise, even if you have previously left a deposit. Thank you.