What are the consequences for leaving a 13 year old alone until 4:00 in the morning?

Asked on September 24, 2012 under Family Law, Texas


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The best answer is it depends on how the child was left alone, any unusual situations, and the maturity of the child.  A thirteen year old that is sophisticated enough to use the phone, in a secure house/dwelling, in a good neighborhood, with adequate food and water that is easy for the child to prepare-- is an otherwise safe child.  There could be a call to CPS, but probably the parent would only be required to complete a parenting class, if anything.  The results, would be different, however, if there were any endangering factors.

For example, if the child is left alone in a house in a neighborhood with a high crime rate-- that could be considered child endangerment.  If the child has any special needs and cannot care for themselves-- this could also be considered endangerment or child abandonment.  The number of aggravating factors will control the degree of offense, but most child endangerment statutes are felony level offenses which carry a range of punishment to 180 days in jail to twenty years in jail.  If the situation was not too bad and the parent has a limited history, then they could qualify for probation.

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