When considering what encompasses child endangerment, most point towards direct physical harm to a child under the age of 18; however, under Pennsylvania law, child endangerment is a larger umbrella term that encapsulates any actions that a caregiver takes that may harm or compromise the safety of a child.
Any person, including a parent or guardian, that is responsible with supervising a child under the age of 18 may be in violation of child endangerment laws if they knowingly neglect the care and protection of a child. Unknown to most, a charge can also be brought against an individual if they employ or oversee someone who cares for a child and neglects their duties to supervise the child. This includes babysitters, coaches, or teachers.
If you have been charged with child endangerment, it may benefit you to contact a skilled defense attorney to learn more about the charges and penalties an individual could face if convicted. Speak to a Philadelphia child endangerment lawyer to understand more broadly what embodies a child endangerment charge, as well as your legal options to pursue your case.
A common misconception about this law is that a conviction can only be brought against an individual if the intent was to deliberate harm the child, however, this is not the case. Under Pennsylvania law, a charge can be brought against an individual if their actions jeopardized the safety and welfare even if they did not purposefully endanger the child.
Because of this, parents and guardians may find themselves in situations that they unknowingly endangered a child, and are being charged with such an offense. This could be something such as driving in a car with a child in the front seat without a seatbelt or faulty airbags. They may not have been aware that their actions were in violation of such a law, and now may face significant fines and jail time if convicted.
Even further, under this law, in Pennsylvania an individual may be charged if they failed to report suspected child endangerment. This means that an individual that had reason to believe that a child was abused by parent, guardian, or supervisor yet did not report it or prevented a report to be made, that individual may also face criminal charges.
Depending on various factors, child endangerment has the possibility of being charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony offense. If the charge is a misdemeanor to the first degree, a sizable penalty and time in jail is a reality, the cost, and length of which varies.
However, if the conviction is a misdemeanor to the third degree, heavier fines and lengthier jail times may be a possibility. If convicted, the accused can be given anywhere from $10,000 in penalties and five years in jail up to $25,000 and 10 years in jail. Speak to an experienced attorney to learn more about the penalties an individual could face if convicted.
Not only can being charged with child endangerment drastically affect your finances and your freedom but can also strain your relationships with friends and family as well as jeopardize your claim to child custody.
This is why it is advantageous for you to work with a skilled Philadelphia child endangerment lawyer as they may be able to mitigate sentences for child endangerment. By working with a knowledgeable lawyer, you can gain a greater understanding of what your rights and legal options are. Do not delay and contact a Philadelphia child endangerment lawyer today.