Endangering the welfare of a child is a serious criminal offense that can lead to tough penalties. It is the responsibility of every parent or guardian to ensure that the children in their custody are protected from any actions that may endanger their welfare. Failure to fulfill this responsibility is a complete violation of child’s rights.
There is a common misconception that endangering the welfare of a child is just a minor crime but this charge carries serious consequences. You can be sentenced to a jail term of up to 30 years depending on the degree of the violation and the local laws. The severity of the crime determines the possible penalties that the charge will attract.
What Constitutes Endangerment of a Child’s Welfare
This charge wears many hats, and one can end up committing this type of crime without knowing. As a parent, guardian, or any person with children under their custody, it is always a good idea to understand some of the actions that can constitute endangerment of a child’ welfare. The following are some of the most common actions or scenarios that can constitute the charge of endangering the welfare of the a child;
Child abuse may include; failure to support or maintain a child that is under your custody, failure to protect a child that is under you custody from both physical and moral risk, as well as forsaking a child willfully. On the other hand, being cruel to a child may include; exposing a child to unnecessary physical and mental strains, inflicting mental and physical suffering on a child, habitually tormenting a child, or inflicting severe corporal punishment.
As mentioned earlier, the crime can be classified as First Degree, Second Degree, Third Degree, or Fourth Degree depending on the severity of the crime. First degree crime attracts higher sentence and penalties when compared to a Fourth Degree violation.
Possible Penalties or Consequences of Endangering the Welfare of a Child
Each state has its own laws when it comes to endangerment of the welfare of a child, but there are some common consequences that one is more likely to face when suspected of committing this crime. The charge can trigger three separate consequences that include;
As mentioned earlier, this crime can attract a jail-term of between 5 years to 30 years and other hefty fines depending on the local laws when one if found guilty. The crime can attract a fine of up to $150,000 depending on the severity of the violation.
The state can only convict you if it proves beyond reasonable doubt that you violated any of the statutory provision for protecting the welfare of children. On the other hand, a criminal defense lawyer’s role is to prove beyond reasonable doubt that your actions did not meet the statutory elements that define this type of crime.
Some of the factor’s that guide a defense attorney when preparing a defense for a case involving the endangering the welfare of a child include; the defendant’s criminal history, the defendant’s state of mind when the incident happened, the level of risk involved, and the availability of an Affirmative Defense. A defense attorney uses a wide range of tactics including savvy negation to achieve the very best outcome for your case. In addition, a lawyer helps you to gather all the necessary facts for the case and at the same time assists you to secure bail.
The consequences of endangering the welfare of a child are very severe and that is why it is important to look for qualified and experienced attorney that can fight for you in a court of law. You might need a criminal defense attorney to handle your case if you have been falsely accused or convicted of endangering the welfare of a child.
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