What Is Endangering The Welfare Of A Child?
Any action that takes away the physical, emotional or mental security of a child is often considered endangering the welfare of a child. Each state has its own laws regarding exactly what kind of actions constitute this crime and how it’s punished. If you intentionally do something that physically harms a child, such as hitting the child, then you are endangering the welfare. Sexual abuse is also considered endangering the welfare, and more charges could stem from this action. One of the elements that must be met is that the child must be under the age of 17. Another way that you could be charged with endangering the welfare of a child is to put the child in a situation where there the child could be harmed.
When you’re a parent or caretaker of a child under the age of 18, your responsibility is to ensure that the child is out of danger. If you knowingly create a situation in the home or in any other location where the child feels unsafe and where the child could be injured, then you can be charged with endangerment. If the child could be in a position to be neglected or abused in any way, then you could also be charged with the crime.
One way that you can possibly offer a defense and not face charges is if you willingly relinquish the rights that you have to the child. You would need to find the proper authorities or another adult who can offer the proper home and life for the child and show that this transfer has happened. Sometimes, children run away from home and put themselves in danger. When speaking with your attorney, one of the defenses that you might be able to use is that the child left the home willingly instead of being forced to leave. Another defense is that you were under the influence of a drug that impacted your thinking.
In the event that you are unable to find someone who can care for the child or if you simply decide to place the child in a dangerous situation, then it can be difficult to fight against the charges. The penalty that you face will depend on the degree of the endangerment charge. A second-degree charge could result in fines as high as $150,000. If you’re convicted of the crime of the second-degree nature, then a jail sentence of five to 10 years is usually given. A third-degree charge could result in up to five years in jail and fines up to $15,000. If you have a clean criminal background and there are no other issues, then the judge could order probation, parenting classes, and other requirements so that you stay out of jail. Most states hold endangerment of a child to a higher sentence than child abuse because there could be a clear risk to the child.
Seek Out An Attorney
The best way to get the charges of endangerment dropped to third-degree or dropped altogether is to consult an attorney who specializes in this field. Your attorney can work with you to examine the circumstances involving the actions that result in the endangerment of the child. If there is proof that the child put himself in danger without your knowledge, then you can turn this over to the attorney who can then provide the evidence to the court. Your attorney can help you find resources to get help with your child or find someone who can provide care if you are unable to provide a home or safety for your child.