The job of a parent is to protect their children and ensure they are always happy, healthy, and safe. While this is true, the unfortunate reality is that there are many parents who find themselves in situations where they put their children in danger. When this happens, they can be charged with endangering the welfare of a child. These charges can result in severe consequences. Continue reading below to learn more about the laws concerning child endangerment in New Jersey and retain the services of an experienced Bergen County criminal defense lawyer if you are currently accused of breaking them. Here are some of the questions you may have:
What laws define child endangerment in New Jersey?
The law regarding child endangerment in the state of New Jersey says that a person is guilty if they are either of the following:
- “Any person having a legal duty for the care of a child who has assumed responsibility for the care of a child who engages in sexual conduct which would impair or debauch the morals of the child is guilty of a crime of the second degree. Any other person who engages in conduct or who causes harm as described in this paragraph to a child is guilty of a crime of the third degree.”
- “Any person having a legal duty for the care of a child or who has assumed responsibility for the care of a child who causes the child harm that would make the child an abused or neglected child as defined in R.S. 9:6-1, R.S. 9:6-3 and P.L. 1974, c. 119, § 1 is guilty of a crime of the second degree. Any other person who engages in conduct or who causes harm as described in this paragraph to a child is guilty of a crime of the third degree.”
What Actions Are Considered Child Endangerment?
In the state of New Jersey, the following actions are considered child endangerment and can result in charges:
- Child pornography
- Child molestation
- Child abuse
- Child neglect
- DYFS hearings
- Sexual assault
- Statutory rape
- Driving while intoxicated with a minor in the vehicle
What are the Penalties for Child Endangerment Charges in New Jersey?
Individuals who are charged with child endangerment can face significant penalties that have the potential to affect them for the rest of their life. Those who are charged with the crime in the third degree can face a prison sentence between three and five years. Those who are charged in the second degree can face a sentence between five and 10 years in state prison. If the charge is of a sexual nature, it is possible for Megan’s Law to apply. This is a notification process that provides law enforcement and the public with information regarding sex offenders in their region based on risk assessment determined by the court.