Parents should know that leaving a child in a vehicle is indeed a criminal offense- but is car leaving a child punishable? The answer is ‘yes’ if you intentionally or knowingly leave a child under 7 years old in a car for five minutes or longer. Children left in cars for more than five minutes must be accompanied by someone at least 14 years old, or it is considered a crime.

Penalties for Leaving a Child in a Vehicle

Leaving children in vehicles in Texas can carry either misdemeanor or felony charges, depending on the circumstances.


Typically, leaving a child in a car in Texas is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by up to a $500 fine. The charge for leaving a child in a vehicle is for neglectful supervision, which may also trigger notification to the Texas Child Protective Services, or CPS.


However, if leaving a child in a car results in injury, it may be a felony. Parents could be charged with child endangerment, defined as putting a minor child at risk of injury, disablement, or death. This is likely when children are left in hot vehicles and either become injured, require resuscitation, or die.

Furthermore, you can be charged with felonious child endangerment related to children that are not your own. You can also be criminally charged if the act is accidental and not on purpose.

Need a Criminal Defense Attorney San Antonio?

One of the more serious crimes you can be charged with for leaving a child in a car is probably child endangerment, a felony punishable by up to two years in jail and fines of $10,000. For this reason, it is imperative to speak with a qualified criminal defense lawyer San Antonio if you are facing charges for leaving a child in a car in Texas. Get in touch with Reynaldo P. Morin PLLC to learn more.