The state of New Jersey is committed to protecting the lives of vulnerable victims, including children. This is why authorities in New Jersey aggressively prosecute the crime of endangering the welfare of children. If you are facing these criminal charges, it’s in your best interest to fight them with the help of an experienced child endangerment attorney at The Hernandez Law Firm. Let our team protect your rights and your future.
What Does It Mean to Endanger the Welfare Of A Child?
The legal definition of child endangerment may vary from state-to-state. In New Jersey, these criminal charges may be brought against anyone who engages in sexual conduct with a child. This may include:
- Making physical contact with a child for sexual gratification
- Showing a child materials that are sexual in nature
- Engaging in sexual intercourse in the presence of a child
- Asking a child to engage in sexual acts in front of them
This is not an exhaustive list of sexual behaviors that could be considered child endangerment. In general, the state may bring these charges against you for engaging in any kind of conduct that is sexual in nature with a child.
You can also face criminal charges for endangering the welfare of a child if you harm, abuse, or neglect a minor. There are many different types of conduct that are considered harmful, abusive, or neglectful, including:
- Failing to provide adequate food, clothing, medical attention, or education to a child
- Using excessive physical restraint on a child
- Failing to provide adequate supervision of a child
- Putting a child at a substantial risk of injury or death (driving while intoxicated with a child in the car is one example of this offense)
- Engaging in an indecent, immoral, or unlawful act in front of a child
- Seriously injuring a child or allowing someone else to seriously injure a child
- Sexually abusing a child or allowing someone else to sexually abuse a child
These are some of the many examples of conduct that can lead to criminal charges for endangering the welfare of a child.
Is Endangering the Welfare Of A Child A Felony or Misdemeanor Crime?
In New Jersey, misdemeanor crimes are known as disorderly persons offenses and felony crimes are known as indictable crimes. Endangering the welfare of a child is an indictable crime. It is charged as either a second- or third-degree indictable crime depending on the nature of the offense and the relationship between the victim and defendant.
For example, if an adult who commits this crime had a legal responsibility to care for the victim, the adult will face second-degree charges. However, if the adult did not have a legal responsibility to care for the victim, it is charged as a third-degree indictable crime.
What Are the Penalties For Endangering the Welfare Of A Child in New Jersey?
The penalties for endangering the welfare of a child will depend on whether it is a second- or third-degree crime. But either way, this crime carries serious penalties.
Third-degree endangering the welfare of a child charges can lead to between 3 to 5 years in prison. If the offense is a second-degree crime, it can lead to between 5 to 10 years in prison.
Many child endangerment cases involve the sexual abuse of children. If your case involves sexual conduct with a child, you could face additional penalties for a conviction. Defendants who are convicted of this type of crime may be required to register on the state’s sex offender registry. This means your personal information, including the details of your conviction, will be available to the public.
Being a registered sex offender or spending time behind bars can impact both your personal and professional life. The only way to avoid these penalties is to fight the charges with the help of the attorneys at The Hernandez Law Firm. Let our team challenge the evidence that the state is using against you, weaken their case, and work tirelessly to reach the best possible outcome.
Set Up A Free Consultation With Our New Jersey Child Endangerment Attorneys Today
Have you been accused of endangering the welfare of a child? You shouldn’t face these charges alone. Let the skilled criminal defense lawyers at The Hernandez Law Firm fight for your freedom. Our attorneys have the experience and resources you need to beat these criminal charges. Learn more about your legal options by scheduling a free consultation with our team. You can set up a consultation by calling our law firm at 732-286-2700 or filling out the form on our website today.