New Jersey, as well as every other state, expects parents to keep their children protected and out of harm’s way. When they fail to do this, even if it is considered an accident, they can be criminally charged with endangering the welfare of a child. Continue reading to find out what the consequences are of being charged with endangering the welfare of a child – and how a criminal defense attorney can help.
What Is Child Endangerment?
Child endangerment refers to the breach of a parent, or caregiver’s, legal duty to keep a child out of danger. It is often referred to as child abuse and can include:
- Physical, sexual, or emotional harm or risk to a child under the age of 18 years
- Employing a child in a position of danger
- Inflicting a child to a physical injury
- Performing, or permitting, an indecent act in the presence of a child
- Sexual abuse
- Excessive restraint
- Social deprivation or isolation
- Abandonment of a child
- Failing to provide a child with food or shelter
- Inflicting unnecessary mental or physical pain
- Driving while intoxicated with a child in the vehicle
- Sexual assault
- Committing statutory rape
- Distribution of child pornography
Child endangerment laws cover a long list of harm or negligence to a child who is under the age of 18 years. The legal consequences for child endangerment are often severe.
Understanding New Jersey Child Endangerment Laws
New Jersey considers two types of child endangerment offenses. The first covers child abuse that is of a sexual nature. The second includes all other offenses that are not sexual. The legal consequences of child endangerment vary, depending on the details of the case. The prosecutor is likely to consider the degree of the charges, as well as if the crime involved sexual misconduct. Legal charges for child endangerment could include up to 10 years in prison and legal fines of up to $150,000.
Registration with Megan’s Law may or may not be required depending on the type of offense. This is a permanent registry that requires that you update your home and work address any time you move. It requires permanent community supervision. Also, depending on the details of the charges, the offender may also be required to register with the New Jersey Sex Offender Registry list.
This could mean lifelong probation, parole, or community monitoring. It may also mean a permanent criminal record, which could make it difficult to get, or maintain, a job.
Why You Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer
Child endangerment laws are severe and meant to protect children from harm. Offenders may be met with prison time, expensive fines, and lifelong registration with Megan’s Law. If you are being charged with the endangerment of a child, it is crucial that you talk with an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.
It is also important to note that a victim cannot drop a case once it has been started. The case is handed over to the prosecutor. Criminal records of child endangerment that include sexual misconduct cannot be expunged from the record. Child endangerment legal consequences can have many negative impacts on the rest of your life, so it is important to evaluate your options.
Read more: The Criminal Justice Process: A Brief Overview Before the Trial
Contact an Experienced Pemberton Criminal Defense Lawyer About Your Child Endangerment Charges in New Jersey
Were you arrested or charged with child endangerment in New Jersey? The consequences of a conviction could be severe, leaving you with a permanent criminal record and possibly even sending you to jail. That is why you need to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible about your case. The attorneys at the Law Office of Stephen R. Piper, LLC have successfully represented clients charged with child endangerment in Mount Laurel, Burlington Township, Pemberton, Delran, and throughout New Jersey. Call 856-333-3586 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.
Disorderly conduct consists of any improper behavior such as fighting, threats of violence, or creating a dangerous atmosphere.