Westchester Endangering the Welfare of a Child Lawyer: A Helpful Guide for Parents and Caregivers
Being charged with endangering the welfare of a child in Westchester County can be an incredibly stressful and frightening experience for parents and caregivers. As a parent myself, I completely understand the overwhelming fear that comes with the possibility of losing custody of your children.
That’s why I wanted to write this guide – to help explain the child endangerment laws in New York, what happens when you are charged, potential defenses, and most importantly, how an experienced Westchester criminal defense lawyer can help protect your rights as a parent.
What is Endangering the Welfare of a Child in New York?
New York Penal Law 260.10 is the child endangerment statute that defines this crime in our state. There are two main ways you can be charged:
- Knowingly acting in a way likely to be harmful to a child under 17 physically, mentally, or morally. This covers a wide range of conduct like leaving a young child home alone, allowing them access to drugs/alcohol, exposing them to unsafe or unsanitary living conditions, etc.
- As a parent/guardian failing to exercise reasonable care to prevent your child under 18 from becoming abused, neglected, delinquent or in need of supervision. This often happens if you fail to stop or report abuse from another caregiver.
Endangering the welfare of a child is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail. However, it’s important to note that these charges are often coupled with other more serious felony offenses.
What Happens After You Are Charged?
If you are arrested for child endangerment in Westchester County, you will first be booked and held until arraignment. This is when you will go before a judge, be formally charged, and have bail set.
In many of these cases, an order of protection will be issued barring contact with the child. Violating this order can lead to a contempt charge. You may also have to deal with an investigation by Child Protective Services into abuse/neglect allegations.
That is why it is so critical to have an experienced Westchester criminal defense lawyer on your side from the very beginning. A knowledgeable attorney can advocate for reasonable bail so you can get out of jail, negotiate the terms of an order of protection, and start building your defense.
Creating an Effective Defense Strategy
There are a number of effective defense strategies an attorney may use depending on the specifics of your case:
- Lack of Intent: For the first type of child endangerment charge, the prosecution must prove you “knowingly” endangered the welfare of a child. Your lawyer can argue you did not realize your conduct would harm the child.
- Lack of Evidence: There may be little evidence to prove actual endangerment occurred or link you to the allegations. An attorney can scrutinize the proof and hold prosecutors to their burden.
- False Allegations: Especially in heated custody disputes, false abuse accusations are made to gain leverage. Your lawyer can expose credibility issues with accusers.
- Mental Health Issues: If mental illness contributed to your conduct, your attorney can argue you lacked the intent to endanger a child’s welfare.
- Unlawful Police Conduct: If your rights were violated during the investigation, your lawyer can file motions to suppress evidence and statements.
The bottom line is an experienced Westchester criminal defense lawyer has the skills to thoroughly investigate the allegations against you and build a strong defense on your behalf.
Why an Attorney is Critical to Protect Your Rights
Facing child endangerment charges in Westchester County can feel devastating and hopeless. But a knowledgeable lawyer levels the playing field and ensures your rights are protected at every stage:
- Negotiating reasonable bail terms so you can be released from jail
- Advocating for fair order of protection terms so you can maintain contact with your child
- Preventing you from making harmful statements during the investigation
- Identifying improper police conduct and filing suppression motions
- Meticulously investigating the allegations and evidence against you
- Locating witnesses and evidence to support your defense
- Negotiating with the prosecution for reduced charges or dismissal
- Taking your case to trial for acquittal if necessary
Without an attorney, parents often make serious mistakes during the investigation and court process that severely undermine their cases. Don’t let that happen to you.
How an Experienced Westchester Child Endangerment Lawyer Can Defend You
As a former Westchester prosecutor, I have handled hundreds of child endangerment cases from both sides and understand how to effectively defend parents’ rights when these allegations arise.
My firm offers compassionate guidance and aggressive legal advocacy to clients just like you who are facing this nightmare scenario. I will thoroughly investigate the allegations, identify any police misconduct, develop an effective, customized defense strategy for your case, and fight relentlessly both in and out of court to achieve the best possible outcome.
Whether that means getting charges reduced or dismissed through negotiations, or taking your case to trial for acquittal, I have the skills and track record to protect your rights, freedom and ability to raise your children. Don’t leave that in the hands of an inexperienced lawyer – contact my firm today for a free consultation and let me help guide you through this difficult time.
Being charged with endangering the welfare of child in Westchester County can be an overwhelming and terrifying experience. But an experienced criminal defense lawyer can help protect your rights, freedom, and ability to raise your children.
I hope this guide was helpful in explaining the child endangerment laws in New York, what happens when you are charged, potential defenses, and most importantly, how a knowledgeable Westchester attorney can defend you. Don’t go through this alone – contact my firm today to get started fighting these allegations.