Child Endangerment laws make it a crime to endanger the health or life of a child through an adult's recklessness or indifference. Some states include child endangerment offenses in existing child abuse statutes, whereas other states made child endangerment a separate offense.
What Are Examples of Child Endangerment?
States tend to differ as to what constitutes child endangerment. Some common examples include:
- Leaving a child unattended in a vehicle
- Driving while intoxicated with a child in the vehicle
- Hiring a person with a known history of sexual offenses as a childcare provider
- Serving alcohol to an underage driver
- Leaving a young child unsupervised or in the care of another young child
- Unreasonable corporal punishment resulting in bodily injury
- Manufacturing drugs in the presence of a child
- Leaving a young child unsupervised in an unsafe area
- Failure to report suspected child abuse
What Are the Penalties for Endangering a Child?
The penalties for endangering a child vary from state to state but can be very severe:
- California: Imprisonment for up to 6 years
- Illinois: Imprisonment for up to 10 years
- New York: Imprisonment for up to 1 year
- Texas: Imprisonment for up to 20 years
Seeking Legal Help
If you are accused of endangering a child, you should speak to a criminal defense lawyer immediately to learn more about your rights, your defenses and the complicated legal system. If you are a victim of Child Abuse, you should call the police. If there is sufficient evidence, the police will then forward your case to a prosecutor's office to pursue charges against the person who committed the child abuse against you.