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DAVID CLARK
Criminal Defense Attorney

Montgomery County Child Endangerment Lawyer

A conviction for endangering the welfare of a child can be highly damaging to your professional and personal life. You may lose your job and no longer be able to able to work in your career field, depending on whether it requires contact with children.

The assistance of a Montgomery County child endangerment lawyer may be crucial to your ability to defend yourself against these serious charges.

A felony child endangerment conviction can be especially problematic, as it can prevent you from working in many different jobs. This level of offense also can foreclose you from pursuing specific professional licenses.

A knowledgeable domestic violence attorney may be able to help defend individuals against these charges and work toward a more favorable outcome in their cases.

What is Endangering the Welfare of a Child

Under 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 4304, individuals may commit the offense of endangering the welfare of a child whenever they intentionally jeopardize the welfare of the children for whom they are responsible.

Any individuals who are parents, guardians, or in any way responsible for supervising the welfare of children must care for and protect those children. When these individuals violate that duty by placing them in danger, they may face criminal charges under this section.

Even individuals or entities who employ or supervise those who are responsible for the welfare of children may be criminally liable under this section. Typically, these individuals are those who are not parents or guardians, but who are responsible for the care, training, or education of children.

Child endangerment also occurs when persons acting in their official capacities prevent or interfere with anyone making a report of suspected child abuse to child protective services.

Common Child Endangerment Offenses

Some common examples of endangering the welfare of a child may include:

  • Individuals who commit a DUI with a child passenger
  • Parents or guardians who physically or sexually abuse their children
  • Caregivers or parents who use illegal drugs around their children
  • Parents or guardians who fail to seek necessary medical care for their children

All these situations could lead to charges for endangering the welfare of a child, in addition to other charges, such as DUI or drug possession. As the consequences of a child endangerment conviction may be severe, individuals facing these charges may wish to consult a child endangerment lawyer in Montgomery County for help.

Montgomery County Penalties for Child Endangerment

Endangering the welfare of a child constitutes a first-degree misdemeanor offense. Under 101 Pa. Code § 15.66, a conviction on this level of crime can result in a maximum five-year prison sentence and $10,000 fine. Nonetheless, there are situations in which individuals may face a felony charge for this offense.

For instance, if individuals committed a series of actions or course of conduct that rose to the level of child endangerment, the offense increases to a third-degree felony.

Endangering the welfare of a child also becomes a third-degree felony offense if the conduct of the individuals led to a significant risk of death or serious bodily injury to a child. A conviction for a third-degree felony may result in a seven-year prison sentence and a $15,000 fine.

As a child endangerment attorney in Montgomery County may advise, other factors may enhance child endangerment charges, as well. If a course of conduct of individuals led to a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury to a child, then the offense increases to a second-degree felony. Likewise, all crimes involving children under the age of six automatically increase by one grade from the charge that they usually would be.

Consult with a Montgomery County Child Endangerment Attorney Today

If you are facing child endangerment charges, your first call should be to legal defense counsel. The potential sanctions for endangering the welfare of a child can be harsh and have a significant impact on all aspects of your life. A Montgomery County child endangerment lawyer may be able to assist you in mounting a defense to the charges against you.

In a prosecution for endangering the welfare of a child, community members may prejudge your actions before you even have stepped into a courtroom for the first time. As a result, you may need immediate legal intervention to prevent these unwanted consequences.