Long Island Endangering the Welfare of a Child Lawyer
Being charged with endangering the welfare of a child on Long Island can have serious consequences. As a parent or guardian, you have a legal responsibility to keep children under your care safe from harm. If you fail in that duty, you may face criminal penalties.
I know this can be a scary situation. As a Long Island criminal defense lawyer, I’ve helped many clients fight these charges and understand their rights. In this article, I’ll break down New York’s child endangerment law, typical cases, penalties, and legal defenses so you can make informed decisions if accused.
What is Endangering the Welfare of a Child in New York?
New York Penal Law 260.10 defines endangering the welfare of a child as a person knowingly acting in a way likely to harm the physical, mental, or moral welfare of a child under 17. This covers both acts of commission, like abuse, and acts of omission, like neglect.
Some examples of child endangerment include:
- Physical abuse – hitting, kicking, shaking, burning, etc.
- Sexual abuse – molestation, rape, child porn, etc.
- Emotional abuse – constant criticism, threats, intimidation, etc.
- Neglect – failing to provide food, shelter, medical care
- Exposing to drugs/alcohol or illegal activity
- Leaving young children unsupervised
- Allowing truancy from school
- Reckless driving with a child passenger
The “knowingly” part is key. You must know your actions could potentially harm the child. Accidents typically don’t qualify.
Penalties for Endangering Children in New York
Endangering the welfare of a child is a Class A misdemeanor in New York, punishable by up to 1 year in jail. Other possible penalties include:
- Up to 3 years probation
- Fines up to $1,000
- Community service
- An order of protection barring contact with the child
- Loss of visitation or custody rights
- Placement on a child abuse registry
Repeat or serious offenses may be charged as felonies with heavier penalties. Child endangerment also brings heavy social stigma that can destroy reputations and relationships.
Fighting Endangering Welfare of a Child Charges
As a criminal charge, the prosecution must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. There are various ways for an experienced attorney to fight these allegations, such as:
- No criminal intent – You must knowingly endanger the child’s welfare. If intent can’t be proven, the charges fail.
- False allegations – Bitter custody disputes, divorce, or family conflicts sometimes trigger false accusations. If the allegations didn’t actually occur, the charges can be defeated.
- Accident – If the incident was an accident with no criminal negligence, then child endangerment charges are inappropriate.
- No harm occurred – Even if risky, your actions must cause likelihood of harm. If the child suffered no ill effects, the charges may be dismissed.
- Self-defense – Discipline like spanking, if reasonable and causing no injury, may be justifiable self-defense against an unruly child.
An attorney can also negotiate plea bargains to lesser charges, reduced penalties, or diversion programs resulting in dismissed charges after counseling or classes.
Finding the Right Lawyer for Your Case
If you’re facing child endangerment charges on Long Island, having an experienced local criminal defense attorney is critical. These allegations can ruin lives, so you need strong legal advocacy on your side.
Choose a lawyer who specializes in New York child welfare cases and knows how to build a solid defense. Understand the evidence, witnesses, and police reports. Challenge inconsistencies and credibility issues. Negotiate with the DA from a position of strength.
A good lawyer will also give you honest assessments of your options while protecting your rights. They’ll clearly explain the process so you can make informed decisions. If a plea bargain is advisable, they’ll get you the best deal possible.
What to Expect at Trial
If negotiating a plea deal isn’t successful, your case will go to trial. The prosecution will try proving these key elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- You were supervising or responsible for caring for a child under 17
- You knowingly acted in a way that was likely to harm the child’s well-being
- Your actions resulted in actual or potential physical, mental, or moral harm to the child
The DA will call witnesses like police, child services, medical experts, teachers, and the alleged victim to testify against you.
Your lawyer will aggressively cross-examine them to undermine credibility and create reasonable doubt. They may call your own witnesses to counter the allegations.
You may choose to testify in your own defense, or exercise your right to remain silent. Your attorney will advise the best approach.
The jury or judge must find guilt beyond reasonable doubt to convict. Otherwise, you should be found not guilty.
Finding the Best Outcome for Your Case
Facing child endangerment charges can be overwhelming. But an experienced local lawyer can help you navigate the system and achieve the best possible outcome.
I know good people sometimes get caught up in bad situations. My goal is protecting your rights and resolving the case as favorably as the facts allow.
Every case is different. With an in-depth review of your case, I can assess options and build an aggressive defense. I will be there every step of the way fighting to protect your future.
Don’t go it alone against serious allegations. Call me for a free consultation today. I’m here to help.