Endangering the Welfare of a Child
Endangering the welfare of a child is a Class A misdemeanor in New York, which carries up to one year in jail. Many times, when the offense is committed by a parent or guardian, there will also be family offense petitions filed in Family Court, as well as abuse and/or maltreatment (neglect) investigations by Child Protective Services (CPS) or New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services (ACS).
Unfortunately, the statute is so broad and vague, it can criminalize the most innocent conduct. Furthermore, the lack of specificity in the wording the statute and the broad range of conduct that the statute can criminalize means that law enforcement and prosecutors can threaten to charge someone, or actually charge someone, with endangering the welfare of a child for almost any conduct involving children.
One is guilty of endangering the welfare of a child when:
He or she knowingly acts in a manner likely to be injurious to the physical, mental or moral welfare of a child less than seventeen years or age or directs or authorizes such child to engage in an occupation involving a substantial risk of danger to his life or health; or
Being a parent, guardian or other person legally charged with the care or custody of a child less than eighteen years old, he or she fails or refuses to exercise reasonable diligence in the control of such child to prevent him from becoming an “abused child,” a “neglected child,” a “juvenile delinquent” or a “person in need of supervision,” as those terms are defined in articles ten, three and seven of the family court act (as of 07/21/10).
Many times, when a person is charged with endangering the welfare of a child, they are also charged with another crime that forms the basis of the endangering charge. Sometimes, we see someone charged with endangering the welfare of a child also charged with assault, sexual assault, rape, menacing, reckless endangerment, manslaughter, or even murder. The prosecution’s theory is that the assault or other criminal conduct directed toward the child also endangered their welfare.
However, most of the cases we see here at Tilem & Associates, PC involve corporal punishment or allegations of corporal punishment inflicted by a parent. Far too often, decent and caring parents find themselves caught up in the criminal justice system for doing nothing more than disciplining their children. Typically, such cases are the result of overzealous prosecutors, police officers and child protective services investigators who simply don’t believe in corporal punishment.Call for a Free Telephone Consultation
If you have been charged with endangering the welfare of a child, you have been accused of child abuse or neglect in family court or you are the subject of a CPS or ACS abuse and/or maltreatment investigation, please don't wait to call our White Plains criminal defense lawyers at Tilem & Associates, PC toll-free at (877) 377-8666 for a free telephone consultation.