I left my five year old son in the car unattended for over ten minutes in the state of Illinois. A witness called the police and they arrived and I was arrested. I have a court date coming up very soon. DCFS was also contacted and I was indicated by DCFS for neglect, however, my child was never taken from my custody and no further recommendations are being given by DCFS. I have extenuating circumstances surrounding what happened, at the time of this incident or arrest. I had within the past two months lost my 32 yr old brother to suicide. It was a very public case which attracted quite a bit of local media attention. It was on all of the Chicagoland newscasts for several weeks until his body was found in October. He had gone missing in September.
The holidays for my family were extremely dysfunctional. At the same time my husband was working for the first time in his life a third shift schedule that started the second week of December. This left me basically in charge of my son at all times. My husband was working at night and sleeping during the days. Oftentimes I was leaving the house with my son, so that my husband would be able to sleep. Due to some fights between my parents and I, my husband decided not to attend Christmas with my relatives. I had a car accident on Christmas day with my son in the car. Five days after Christmas, I was arrested for leaving my child in the car unattended.
I have never been arrested before. I know that none of what I described above change the facts of my case, but might add a little insight into what was going on in my life at this time. I was and continue to see a behavioral therapist for anxiety. All of the people that DCFS contacted believe that I am a fit mother and that this was a one time incident. They contacted many people, such as my son's preschool teacher (who he has had for the past three yrs, my son's pediatrician, and my behavioral therapist, along with my parents and my husband to speak on my behalf.)
The officers that reported to the scene told the DCFS caseworker over the phone, that my son was not in any distress while waiting in the car and did not unlock the door until, they showed him their badges. He was warm to the touch and dressed in several layers of clothes, plus a winter coat, hat, mittens, and winter boats. The car was still warm to the touch and my son had no visible signs of emotional distress or physical injury. Upon the arresting officer's recommendation, DCFS released my son back into my custody without picking him up or taking him anywhere.
My question is can I receive supervision for this Class A misdemeanor (for a first time offense) or is only probation allowed in the state of IL for this charge? If only probation is allowed will I ever be able to have this expunged or sealed from my criminal records?
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service.