Accused of Endangering the Welfare of a Child in NJ
Charged with Endangering the Welfare of a Child in New Jersey?
The crime of “endangering the welfare of a child” is actually much broader in New Jersey than you might think. First, it is worth noting that this charge can apply to both parents and caretakers, as well as any other adult who knowingly acts in a way that is harmful to a child, regardless of whether those actions affect the mental, emotional, physical, or moral well-being of the child. Parents, guardians, and caretakers can also be charged with this crime if they fail to or refuse to exercise reasonable diligence to prevent abuse, neglect, or delinquency.
Keep in mind that a child is anyone under the age of 18. Some of the most common types of charges related to endangering the welfare of a child are set out below. For additional information about child welfare allegations and to speak with a lawyer who can help with your case, contact our law office at 973-755-1695. An attorney is available to assist you and consultations are offered free of charge.
Accused of Child Abuse or Neglect
Most people understand that child abuse means physically harming a child. However, it also extends to mental or emotional harm as well. In addition, parents and caretakers must take steps to prevent child abuse. That means that if a parent knows or suspects that abuse is happening (even if they have not witnessed it), they may be charged with child abuse under some circumstances. If you think that someone else is abusing your child, you need to take action.
Neglecting a child generally means that you or a caretaker is not caring for or controlling a child as they should. In creating this charge, the State of New Jersey’s focus is on ensuring that the child is cared for, but not at the expense of the public wherever possible. When a person is accused of abusing or neglecting a child, they may face criminal charges for endangering, and the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P) may also open an investigation. These are two separate cases that should if possible, be handled by an experienced attorney who regularly defends clients accused of child abuse and neglect in all aspects of these matters.
Sexual Abuse and Child Pornography Accusations
Abuse that is of a sexual nature is often classified as a separate charge, as it is treated differently under New Jersey law. However, it is technically a form of child abuse as well. Often, issues involving sexual abuse will be charged as criminal sexual contact, sexual assault, or another sex crime.
Child pornography is treated as a criminal offense under the endangering the welfare of a child statute, N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4. New Jersey’s child pornography laws are targeted at sharing images of children over the internet or through another file sharing program. These laws were created in response to a “loophole” in New Jersey law that made it a crime to create or have child pornography in your possession, but not necessarily to view it. Today, virtually any contact with child pornography or compliance with the sexual abuse of a child is a crime.
Arrested for DWI with a Child in the Vehicle
The definition of endangering the welfare of a child is broad enough to cover many factual circumstances where the safety of a child could be compromised. One of those situations that is often overlooked is driving under the influence with a child in the car. If you are charged with a DWI in New Jersey and there is a child in the vehicle, the penalties are enhanced in many cases. In addition to the penalties you’re facing for a DUI, you can also face serious consequences in connection with a child endangerment charge.
What am I facing for Child Endangerment?
The penalties for endangering the welfare of a child in New Jersey are varied based on the circumstances. If you are charged and convicted of the second degree criminal charge for endangering the welfare of a child, the associated prison time could be up to ten years. However, a lesser charge for a disorderly persons offense, which includes a fine of up to $1,000 and prison time of no more than six months, may also be an option in some situations. It is important to understand the specific accusations that gave rise to your endangering charges and the associated consequences if you’re convicted.
Need a Lawyer for Endangering the Welfare of a Child Charges NJ
If you have been charged with endangering the welfare of a child, you need a knowledgeable New Jersey criminal defense attorney. This type of charge could have serious effects on you, your children and family members, and even your career in the future. There is too much at stake to deal with this charge on your own. Additionally, a complaint brought by DCPP could result in removal of your children from your care and other devastating effects. Call our New Jersey defense attorneys for child abuse and neglect now at 973-755-1695 for more information.