Endangering Child Welfare
ENDANGERING THE WELFARE OF A CHILD-2C:24-4(a)
If you were arrested for DWI/DUI with a child in the car (someone under 18), then you may be charged with Endangering the Welfare of a Child, a second-degree crime. Police and Prosecutor will usually charge this offense in two situations. First, is when the driver is impaired by drugs or alcohol and the child is injured. The second arises when the driver has an extremely high BAC, or is under the influence of drugs, so as to put the child at risk of injury.
PENALTIES FOR ENDANGERING THE WELFARE
As with any second-degree crime, a person charged with endangering the welfare of a child, is subject to 5 to 10 years in prison, up to a $100,000 fine, and assessments, and a permanent criminal record. These are in addition to any penalties associated with DWI/DUI, and Refusal.
In some rare circumstances, a person so charged may be eligible for pretrial intervention. However, such permission must be with the consent of the Prosecutor. Some courts have also been willing to give probation, in lieu of prison. Finally, in some very rare circumstances, having the matter reduced to a non-criminal 39:4-50.15, DWI with a child in the vehicle. A good criminal defense lawyer will research these options for you.
HOW WILL WE FIGHT YOUR CHARGES?
It all starts with challenging the Grand Jury proceedings and making sure the State can make out a case for endangerment. The charges are very specific and require certain conduct and conditions. The next step is to determine whether there was sufficient evidence to stop your car and later to arrest you. Finally, if a deal cannot be reached, then your matter may have to be tried. Steven W. Hernandez is a trial lawyer, who has experience challenging motor vehicle crimes and violations. For a consultation or appointment, call 732-286-2700.