Child endangerment is a type of crime that happens when a person engages in conduct that puts a child in imminent danger of death, bodily injury or impairment of the brain or body. Endangering a child could happen through an act or omission. Child endangerment and negligent care of a child include both misdemeanor and felony crimes. Felony child endangerment or negligent care of a child charges are related to intent and the degree of risk to the child. If you have been charged with child endangerment or negligent care of a child as a misdemeanor or felony crime, hiring a criminal defense attorney is essential to navigating through your case and ensuring that your rights are protected.
State Child Endangerment Laws
Each state has its own misdemeanor and felony guidelines for child endangerment. In the state of Florida, child endangerment is covered under the child abuse laws. It includes willful torture, malicious punishment, aggravated battery and willful caging of a child. Florida’s law also includes causing great bodily harm, lifelong disability or permanent disfigurement of the child. Anyone who encourages another person to do these activities could also be charged with the same crimes in Florida.
In the state of California, child endangerment includes exploitation as well as emotional, physical or sexual abuse. General or specific neglect also fall under the state’s child abuse and endangerment laws. Exploitation of a child includes forcing a minor to participate in activities that are degrading or illegal. California also considers emotional endangerment of the child. Emotional endangerment encompasses non-physical mistreatment that causes a child to misbehave, withdraw or become hyperactive in a way that would not have happened without the mistreatment.
State Child Neglect Laws
In Florida, child neglect laws are a subset of their child abuse laws. “Neglect” is defined to be the failure or omission to provide a minor with the necessary physical and mental care, supervision, and services needed for health. This includes failing to provide food, clothing, shelter, supervision, medicine and medical care. In New York, the statutes also include failure to provide education. In Minnesota, neglect may also include exposing a fetus to certain drugs during pregnancy.
In the state of New York, maltreatment also falls under this law. For example, the parent’s or guardian’s use of drugs may cause them to be unable to properly treat and care for the child. This would fall under neglect in the state courts. Other forms of neglect and maltreatment in New York include humiliation, causing fear, inflicting verbal terror or engaging in extreme criticism. Leaving a child in the care of an incapable person also falls under child neglect in New York.
If you face misdemeanor or felony child endangerment or negligent care charges, a criminal defense attorney explains your rights and responsibilities. The attorney may offer lines of defense such as reasonable punishment, lack of intent to cause serious harm and mitigation of the risk element in order to show that the actions would not be likely to cause bodily injury or death. Working with an attorney helps you protect your rights and navigate through the criminal court system on these serious charges.