Child Endangerment Charges in New York City

Because of their vulnerable status, children receive special protection from the New York State legislature. Individuals who are 17 years old or younger are considered children and acting in a way that may cause some sort injury – even if those same actions may be legal if done toward another adult – can get you arrested. Because of the severity of this offense, you should contact an attorney at our firm if you are facing child endangerment charges in New York City.

What is Child Endangerment in New York City?

A person can be convicted of Endangering the Welfare of a Child when they knowingly act in a way which is likely to injure a child’s physical, mental, or moral welfare. The language of New York Penal Law §260.10 is intentionally vague and broad, encompassing a wide variety of actions.

In addition to the standard scenarios like abuse and neglect, people have been arrested under this statute for: driving while intoxicated with a child in the car, bringing a child to a narcotics transaction, or using a child to facilitate or cover-up criminal activity. Even situations where a prosecutor can argue that a person is putting a child on the path to become a criminal later in life can result in child endangerment charges being filed in New York City.

In some situations, police and prosecutors seem to take the broad language of this offense too far. Many people have heard about or read stories of people being arrested for leaving their child in the car while they run into a convenience store or gas station, or people getting arrested for engaging corporal discipline which the government deems excessively harsh. It is difficult to determine when certain actions are done to rear a child or teach them a lesson, and when the state needs to intervene because punishment goes too far.

Defenses for Endangering the Welfare of a Child Charges

Regardless of the incident that led to the charges, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant knowingly acted in a way that was likely to cause some harm. Often, the strongest defense to this charge is to argue that the individual simply did not and could not have known that their actions were likely to result in some form of damage to the child.  It is not enough for the prosecutor to show that some of injury occurred, they must show that the person knew that their actions were likely to cause harm, and the individual continued to act in this manner anyway. If the child was affected in a way that was objectively unlikely to happen or was not foreseeable, then the person cannot be convicted.

Endangering the Welfare of a Child is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail.  Beyond the potential for jail time, there is a stigma that attaches to a conviction for acting in a manner dangerous to a child. Everyday activities such as finding a job or a place to live will become significantly more difficult if a person must disclose that they have been convicted of endangering a child in New York City.  These cases must be taken extremely seriously.

Contact a New York City Child Endangerment Defense Attorney

If you, or a loved one, has been charged with Endangering the Welfare of a Child, call the top attorneys at the Law Offices of Jeffrey Lichtman. We can tirelessly defend your rights and investigate every possible defense to your child endangerment charges in New York City. We fight daily to prevent our client’s from suffering the stigma a criminal conviction will cause. Call us today for a free evaluation of your case.

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