Texas Law – Is it Legal to Leave Your Child Alone in the Car?
This came into question last week when a car was stolen at a convenience store. The person who took the car didn't realize a kid was in the back seat. He ditched that car as soon as he did.
A lot of people are wondering why the parent didn't face charges. I mean they did leave the kid in the car alone. So many people are wondering if it is even legal to do something like that.
Obviously, the car was running which made it an easy target. I am not sure how the guy did not notice a child in the back seat.
At What Age Can You Leave Your Kid in the Car?
According to the Texas Penal Code:
(a) A person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly leaves a child in a motor vehicle for longer than five minutes, knowing that the child is:
(1) younger than seven years of age; and
(2) not attended by an individual in the vehicle who is 14 years of age or older.
(b) An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor.
Since the car was at a convenience store you know the parent just ran inside for a minute. They figured what is the harm? I mean I will be quick, was the thought. Oh, but not quick enough.
They were probably in there last than five minutes so that part is covered.
The child was eight years old so that part was legal too. Both of those answers are exactly why the parent was not charged.
People were quick to judge this parent but I am sure there may have been a time you did this too. Maybe you ran to grab your phone that you forgot in the house and thought what's the harm?
Maybe you ran into the corner Pak a Sak to grab a snack for your child. You would only be a minute. These things happen. Let's not forget that the true criminal here is the guy who stole the car.
We are just so happy that the child in the car knew what to do in this situation and is home safe. This story could have turned out much worse.