Child endangerment occurs when an adult caregiver places a child in a dangerous or inappropriate situation. While not technically the same as child abuse since it does not involve directly causing harm, child endangerment carries stiff penalties up to and including prison time. Few crimes engender feelings of revulsion in American citizens like those involving children. Being accused of this crime can have long lasting affects on one’s future, even if the accused is innocent. Because of the extremely negative connotation that is associated with this crime, it is very important to hire an experienced child endangerment attorney to defend you.
Child endangerment includes both placing a child in physical danger and exposing a child to dangerous or illegal adult situations. Caregivers who drive under the influence or who become inebriated while children are under their care can be convicted of child endangerment as can parents who fail to use proper safety restraints for their children while driving. Situations exposing children to illegal drug use, firearms, pornography, domestic violence, and criminal activity all constitute child endangerment. It is common for a parent or a caregiver to have no intention of committing this crime. Carelessness, negligence or recklessness may lead to a child endangerment charge. A child endangerment attorney can help show the prosecutor that the child will be kept away from danger in the future and that the accused made a mistake and will never make that mistake again. Most child endangerment situations are discovered during the investigation of another crime. For example, when law enforcement is looking for drunk drivers and notices a child in the car of someone who is driving drunk, the charges may be drunk driving as well as child endangerment. Or if police find a meth lab being operated in someone’s home and discover that children are also living in that home, the lab operators can also be charged with child endangerment.
While child endangerment situations may seem clear, controversy does exist. For example, parents who choose not to seek medical advice for a child’s illness due to religious beliefs can be charged with child endangerment in some states. Other states do not allow for criminal investigation in such situations, although laws may change in the future. A skilled criminal defense attorney will help with these intricacies.
Individuals who have been charged with child endangerment should seek the advice of a child endangerment defense attorney. A criminal attorney who handles child endangerment cases will know what options are available and what the best line of defense will be under the circumstances. If you have been accused of child endangerment, please contact us day or night for a free and confidential consultation.
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