PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Five of eight cases where children were left in hot cars since the spring resulted in criminal charges, according to a CBS 5 and 3TV examination of court records.

The cases in which the charges have already been filed involved babies and toddlers who survived. In the three cases where the children died, the investigations remain ongoing, according to police and prosecutors.

[WATCH: When prosecutors decided to bring charges in kids in hot car cases?]

The latest case occurred on Tuesday. Police say a man forgot his foster child was in the family van. Police are not identifying the man.

[REATED: 4-month-old girl who after being left in van in Phoenix was a foster child]

Defense attorneys tell CBS 5 and 3TV that there is a lot of leeway in the decision whether to prosecute these cases.

"If the police decide that they're not going to submit charges, it's very unlikely that that charge will ever reach a prosecutor's office and be charged formally. Even if they do decide they're going to submit charges, there's still a lot of discretion at the prosecutor's office to decide if they're going to decide formal charges or not and what charges they are going to file," said Chris Doran, who is a Phoenix defense attorney.

[RELATED: Florida researcher says parents who leave kids in cars not negligent, they're normal]

Doran says factors that affect a charging decision include whether it's been dangerously hot out, so that a reasonable person should know there's a danger in leaving a child in a car, whether the adult has a clean record with regard to taking care of children and whether the adult is a sympathetic defendant, which would make the person more difficult for a jury to convict.


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Morgan Loew's hard-hitting investigations can be seen weekdays on CBS 5 News at 6:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.

Copyright 2019 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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