Committing Child Endangerment
Parents and/or legal guardians have a duty to care for their children. If they fail to do so in any way, they can face criminal charges. One specific way a parent or guardian fails to care for their child is through child endangerment. While this article will provide a brief overview of child endangerment, if you believe you are a victim of this crime or are aware of this occurring for another child, you should immediately contact the police. As well, we highly recommend you contact us for experienced criminal counsel.
What is Child Endangerment and How Can it Occur?
In order to prove that child endangerment occurred, the prosecutor must provide evidence that satisfies four legal elements. First, the child was placed in a situation that would result in great bodily harm or death. Second, the defendant must have either inflicted “unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering”, caused or permitted the pain/suffering, caused or permitted the suffering while having custody of the victim, or caused or permitted the pain/suffering by placing the child in a situation that would result in the pain/suffering. Third, the defendant’s actions must have been criminally negligent. Fourth, the actions in question must not be considered as the reasonable disciplining of a child in one’s custody.
The defendant must have willfully committed the previous actions. Furthermore, Criminal negligence occurs due to actions (or lack of actions) that prove a disregard for life and present methods no reasonable person would take.
Guilty of Child Endangerment
If the defendant is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, the defendant faces either a misdemeanor or a felony. The prosecution will move forward with a misdemeanor if the defendant did not place the child in a situation that would result in great bodily harm or death. However, if the defendant did do so, the charge is increased to a felony. While a misdemeanor results in jail time, a felony can result in prison time and fines.