Child endangerment is a criminal accusation that means putting a child in circumstances that may lead to their injury. The injury can be mental, physical, or both. For example, you can be charged with child endangerment if you leave your child unattended by the roadside. While child endangerment is a serious charge, everybody deserves their day in court. Here are some of the defenses you may use if facing such an accusation:
It Was a Mistake
You may be able to escape the child endangerment charges by proving that it was a mistake on your part. This may work because, for you to be convicted of the charge, the prosecution must prove that it was more than a mistake on your part. This means you must have placed the child in a situation where a reasonable person would know that the child would be in danger.
For example, engaging in sexual activities in the presence of a child is considered child endangerment. Now, consider an example where you are locked in the bedroom, and the child manages to view your acts through a previously unknown crack in the wall. That would clearly be a mistake compared to a couple who decides to get intimate on the beach in the full view of their child.
There Was No Imminent Danger
Child endangerment laws have been enacted to prevent children from being placed in dangerous or potentially dangerous circumstances. Therefore, showing that the child wasn't in any imminent danger is a good way of defending yourself.
For example, if you are accused of leaving your child alone in a car, you can claim that the child wasn't in any imminent danger because the temperatures were low, you were not far from the car, and the windows were open. You may need expert testimony to prove that the child was safe.
You Were Not a Caregiver
Child endangerment can both be an act or an omission. For example, you endanger a child if you have them as a passenger in your car and you are intoxicated; this is an endangerment act. You also endanger a child if you fail to provide them with necessary medical care.
However, omissions only count as endangerment if performed by caregivers (people who have accepted responsibility for the child). For example, a daycare worker who fails to give a child their prescription medicine is guilty of endangerment. However, you cannot be accused of endangerment if you were merely visiting the daycare, and had not accepted responsibility for any child.
Child endangerment is a tricky charge because, in some cases, it is subjective. You may be accused of child endangerment even when you feel the situation wasn't dangerous for your kid. Therefore, don't rely on your "feelings" of innocence to defend yourself in court; get an experienced criminal lawyer to handle your case.
For more information, contact Abom & Kutulakis LLP or a similar firm.