An allegation of child endangerment is a serious charge brought against a parent or caregiver who is accused of placing a child in a dangerous situation. Child endangerment has the potential to cause harm or death to a child in one’s care. The harm involved can be either physical or mental, and the endangerment can exist by way of an act or omission. An act that constitutes child endangerment might involve leaving a child in a dangerous situation, such as a when a baby is left in a hot car. Endangerment by omission, on the other hand, presents danger by not doing something. For example, when a caregiver does not bother to give a child medication for a serious illness. This omission may be a result of deliberate decisions or accidental oversights. A charge of child endangerment can carry misdemeanor or felony charges, depending on the details of the offense.
A child endangerment charge has the potential to upend your life. Custody arrangements may very well be impacted by such a charge. You may be forced to take a parenting course. Your standing in the community may suffer, and your employment opportunities may be affected as well. Probation and fines are also possible. A misdemeanor offense may carry a fine of $1,000, while more severe fines can be as high as $10,000. Prison time is also a possible penalty, with a misdemeanor child endangerment charge bringing a possible one-year sentence and a felony charge leading to a possible 10-year prison term.
Conditions for a Child Endangerment Charge
For a child endangerment charge to stand, three major factors must be in place: the accused must have assumed responsibility for the child, the accused must have perpetrated an act or omission that put the child in danger, and the danger must be deemed imminent.
Usually the condition of imminent danger must be proven in order for the charge to stick. However, the law allows for a presumption of imminent danger in certain cases, such as when the caregiver deliberately uses a controlled substance and blacks out, leaving the child unattended. In such a case, there is no need to prove a specific imminent danger was present. Instead, the accused must prove the opposite is true. In effect, the burden is placed on the defendant to disprove the presumption.
New Jersey DCPP Lawyers at the Law Offices of Theodore J. Baker Represent Clients Charged with Child Endangerment
An accusation of child endangerment is a serious charge. If you were accused of child endangerment, you should speak to the New Jersey DCPP lawyers at the Law Offices of Theodore J. Baker to discuss your options. To learn more, contact us online or call us at 856-795-9400 for an initial consultation. Located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, we represent clients throughout Haddonfield, Marlton, Medford, Moorestown, Mount Laurel, and Voorhees.