Understanding Child Endangerment Laws in Pennsylvania
The misconception that you must intentionally hurt a child to face child endangerment charges in Pennsylvania is surprisingly common. The reality is, Pennsylvania law considers any situation where a child under an adult’s care is put at risk as potential child endangerment.
Parents and guardians are often unaware of this broader definition, which can lead to unexpected legal investigations. Furthermore, unwarranted charges can result from malicious reports by others, which could be exaggerated or completely untrue.
If you’re contending with allegations of endangering a child’s welfare, don’t lose hope. Skilled legal help, such as a Beaver criminal attorney, can provide a solid defense against these serious charges.
What Constitutes Child Endangerment?
Per Chapter 18, Section 4304 of Pennsylvania’s criminal code, child endangerment occurs when someone in charge of a child’s care (like a guardian or parent) knowingly puts that child at risk. This includes failing in their duty to protect, support, or care for the child. It’s important to know that this applies to anyone responsible for overseeing individuals who care for children, as well.
It’s also unlawful for anyone in an official role to interfere with the reporting of child abuse. Every instance of such interference is treated as a separate offense and, in continual cases, might be upgraded to a felony charge.
Strong legal representation is key when facing charges of child endangerment. It protects your future, as well as that of the child involved. A well-versed Beaver DUI attorney can offer the robust defense needed to navigate these charges.
Recognizing Child Endangerment
Examples of endangering the welfare of a child vary widely. Here are some actions that could lead to this charge in Pennsylvania:
- Driving under the influence with a minor in the vehicle
- Neglecting household safety or cleanliness
- Handling or having illegal drugs around a child
- Not getting medical aid for a sick or hurt child
- Letting a child use certain vehicles without proper safety measures
- Harm to a child resulting from physical disputes between adults
All the above, and more, could be considered high risk or inappropriate by a court, potentially leading to arrest.
Potential Penalties for Child Endangerment
The penalties for child endangerment in Pennsylvania are not static; they vary with each case. Typically, it’s deemed a first-degree misdemeanor, possibly resulting in a $10,000 fine and up to 5 years imprisonment.
Should the court find a pattern of such offenses, the charges might escalate to a third-degree felony. This can lead to a fine of up to $15,000 and imprisonment for up to 7 years.
Final Word on Child Endangerment Charges
Having your future in jeopardy due to a child endangerment charge – whether you’re in Beaver, West Virginia, or Ohio – demands the expertise of a Beaver criminal attorney well-versed in family law. At Logue Law, our domestic violence criminal defense team, led by Sean Logue, is dedicated to advocating for you. Reach out to us at (844) PITT-DUI or visit our website for a complimentary initial consultation.
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