Endangering the Welfare of Children
There is a common misconception about child endangerment charges in Pennsylvania. Many people believe that these charges only apply when someone intentionally harms a child. However, the truth is more complicated. In fact, Pennsylvania law considers any situation where a child’s well-being is jeopardized under adult supervision as child endangerment.
This misunderstanding often catches parents or guardians off guard when they find themselves under investigation for this offense. To make matters worse, malicious reports can lead to exaggerated or even false charges.
But don’t lose hope if you are facing accusations of child endangerment. With the support of a skilled Washington domestic violence defense attorney, you can mount a strong defense to protect yourself from the severe consequences of a conviction.
Endangering the Welfare of Children Definition
According to Pennsylvania’s criminal code (Chapter 18, Section 4304), child endangerment is defined as follows: Anyone entrusted with the welfare of a child under the age of 18, whether it be a guardian, parent, or any other responsible individual, who knowingly puts the child’s well-being at risk by violating a duty of protection, support, or care, is guilty of child endangerment. This law also applies to those who oversee or employ individuals responsible for a child’s welfare.
It’s important to note that under Pennsylvania law, anyone who, in an official capacity, obstructs or hinders the reporting of suspected child abuse can also be charged with child endangerment. Each violation, whether singular or multiple, is considered as an individual offense. In some cases, multiple violations may even be treated as a felony under the course of conduct.
When it comes to safeguarding the future of your child and defending yourself against child endangerment charges, seeking reliable legal representation is crucial. Reach out to a seasoned Washington PA DUI attorney who can fight for your rights and help mitigate the potential consequences of such allegations.
Examples of Child Endangerment
Child endangerment is a pervasive issue underestimated by many. Any situation that jeopardizes a child’s safety is considered a threat to their well-being and can lead to arrest.
The court typically applies a standard based on what an average parent or guardian deems high risk or morally wrong. It’s important to be aware of specific actions that can result in a child endangerment charge in Pennsylvania:
- DUI with a child in the car
- Neglecting the home environment, resulting in unsanitary or unsafe conditions
- Using or possessing illegal drugs in the presence of a child
- Failing to provide medical attention to a sick or injured child
- Allowing a child to ride on the back of an ATV or any open-air motor vehicle without appropriate safety restraints
- Engaging in a physical altercation with a spouse that accidentally injures a child
Child Endangerment Penalties in Pennsylvania
Child endangerment penalties in Pennsylvania vary based on the specifics of each case. As a first-degree misdemeanor, it carries a fine of up to $10,000 and up to 5 years of imprisonment.
However, if the prosecutor can establish, beyond any doubt, that the offender has a history of such behavior, also known as a course of conduct, the offense is upgraded to a third-degree felony. This increases the penalties to include a fine of up to $15,000 and a prison term of up to 3 ½ years.
Regardless of the circumstances, if you are facing child endangerment charges in the Washington area, or in West Virginia or Ohio, it is crucial to have a Washington PA criminal attorney who comprehends the intricacies of the family court system and will vigorously advocate for the best possible outcome. At Logue Law, our domestic violence criminal defense attorneys, led by Sean Logue, possess the expertise and tenacity necessary to protect your rights and your future. Contact us now at (844) PITT-DUI or visit our website to schedule a free initial consultation.
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