Bronx Risk of Injury to a Minor Lawyer
Children are the most vulnerable members of our society. Even when people are teenagers, they have few legal rights and can be entirely at the mercy of their parents’ – or another adult’s – behavior. Sadly, many people in children’s lives are able to harm them by intentionally abusing or neglecting them.
Either way, it is a crime under New York law to endanger the welfare of a child. The potential consequences for this behavior include being sent to jail, being forced to pay a fine, and having guardianship of the child taken away.
Our Bronx risk of injury to a minor lawyers help defend those facing charges involving abuse or neglect of a child. We aim to protect the freedom of the accused and, if relevant, to preserve an adult’s right to continue their role in the child’s life. If you have been charged a risk of injury offense, a hard-working domestic violence attorney could fight for you.
What Behaviors Count as Child Endangerment?
Any action that counts as a crime when committed against an adult is also a crime when committed against a child. For example, if a person commits an assault, it does not matter if the target is a child or an adult – they can be charged with assault. The fact that the target is a child will often make the criminal charges more severe.
More precisely, any action is taken that is likely to cause a child to come to harm is a crime in and of itself. Known as Endangering the Welfare of a Child, New York Penal Law §260.10 criminalizes this behavior.
The statute states that any person regardless of guardianship, who knowingly acts in a way that is likely to hurt a child in a physical, mental, or moral way is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor. Additionally, a parent or guardian who allows a child to become an “abused child”, a “neglected child”, or a “person in need of supervision” is also guilty. Under either category, a person can be punished by jail for up to one year or facing fines up to $1,000. A lawyer in the Bronx could determine if an accused person’s behavior actually constitutes risk of injury to a minor.
Corporal punishment is legal under state law. However, that does not mean that New York Administration of Children’s Services will not investigate allegations of abuse stemming from corporal punishment. For starters, there are limitations on who can use physical force against a child. These individuals include parents, guardians, or persons entrusted with a child’s care. While these parties may use physical force to discipline a child, there are limitations in this use of force. The force must be non-lethal and reasonably necessary to promote the child’s welfare and discipline.
The issue is that what qualifies as reasonable corporal punishment can vary dramatically from one person to another. Given this subjective standard, it is not hard to understand how corporal punishment could result in allegations of criminal conduct. A lawyer in the Bronx could help a parent prepare a case in their defense if they have been accused of risk of injury to a minor due to corporal punishment.
What Defenses Can Defendants Raise in Cases Involving Risk of Injury to a Minor?
New York Penal Law §260.15 specifically states that a defendant can raise an affirmative defense under certain circumstances. An affirmative defense means that a defendant admits to committing the conduct but argues that their actions were justified. Specifically, the statute allows parents who are accused of providing inadequate medical care due to religious beliefs to present evidence of this at trial. If these beliefs are genuinely held, the charges can be refuted.
In most other cases, a defendant must argue that the conduct did not, in fact, harm the child. In situations where a child is placed at risk due to conduct that does not fall under the umbrella of endangering the welfare of a child, such as having a child in a car while driving drunk, the defense must focus on defeating the underlying accusations. An attorney in the Bronx could help someone accused of risk of injury to minor determine what defense strategy may most effective in their case.
Child Endangerment and Custody Issues
One of the consequences outside of jail time or fines that can come with child endangerment charges is custody complications. This is true for anyone involved in an ongoing child custody dispute. As such, these convictions could result in unwanted changes to a custody agreement that may result in one parent losing custody or visitation, especially if they have been accused of abuse.
Custody complications are not the only collateral consequences that can follow these convictions. A criminal record could make it difficult to obtain employment or secure adequate housing. This type of conviction could also have repercussions during the immigration process.
Contacting a Bronx Risk of Injury to a Minor Attorney
Accusations of a parent causing their child harm can carry harsh consequences. Not only is the defendant forced to answer charges in criminal court that may result in jail time and heavy fines, but the custody or visitation rights of parents may be placed in jeopardy.
It is important for defendants to obtain representation that can protect them on both fronts. Our Bronx risk of injury to a minor lawyers fight against criminal accusations that defendants committed crimes against children. If you are accused of endangering the welfare of a child, contact us today.