Connecticut Child Endangerment Lawyer
What is Child Endangerment in CT?
The Connecticut general statutes contain several different laws designed to protect children from danger. Behavior that could be considered child endangerment includes conduct that causes physical harm or places a child in a situation where physical harm is likely to result.
Neglect of basic needs or lack of supervision can also be viewed as child endangerment. Moreover, the law also treats situations that could harm the emotional or moral development of a child as child endangerment.
What is Risk of Injury to a Minor?
In Connecticut, police charge many child endangerment scenarios as violations of Connecticut General Statutes (“C.G.S.”) §53-21, partially entitled “risk of injury to, or impairing morals of children.” This statute prohibits three different types of conduct in connection with minors under the age of 16. All three behaviors are prosecuted as felony offenses.
What is Endangering Health or Morals?
The first provision of C.G.S. §53-21 is broadly drawn to cover a wide range of conduct. An individual violates this law if they willfully or unlawfully:
- Cause or allow a child to be put in a situation endangering life or limb
- Permit or cause a child to be in circumstances likely to cause injuries
- Cause or allow a child to be in a situation likely to impair the child’s morals
- Commit any act likely to impair the health or morals of a child
Whether an action could negatively impact a child’s health or morals is a matter subject to interpretation. Connecticut child endangerment lawyers know that police may charge this offense in a wide variety of circumstances, many of which should not be considered worthy of criminal prosecution.
What is Considered Prohibited Contact?
The second prohibition in the risk of injury statute concerns contact with intimate body parts. An individual violates this statute if they make contact with the intimate parts of a child under the age of 16 in a “sexual and indecent manner likely to impair the health or morals of such child.” They also violate the statute if they allow a child to make contact with their own intimate body parts.
What is the Sale of Children?
The final subsection of the statute prohibits the permanent transfer of physical or legal custody of a minor under the age of 16 if that transfer is made in exchange for payment. An exchange for either money or any other valuables will violate this provision.
What are the Penalties for Child Endangerment?
If someone is convicted of risk of injury for actions involving contact with the intimate parts of a child, the law treats the offense as a Class B felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
Other violations of the risk of injury statute are considered Class C felonies. The maximum penalties include imprisonment for up to ten years and a fine as high as $10,000.
Will a Risk of Injury Charge Lead to a DCF Investigation?
In many child endangerment situations, the Connecticut Department of Children and Families will conduct an investigation. If they believe a child is in danger, they may remove the child from the home. A Connecticut child endangerment attorney could provide representation during an investigation to protect the family’s privacy and help parents avoid making statements that could be used against them.
Consult an Experienced Connecticut Child Endangerment Attorney
Lawmakers and law enforcement personnel in Connecticut work zealously to take actions they believe could prevent the endangerment of children. However, they sometimes see danger where none exists. When that happens, a family may be separated, causing unnecessary trauma to the child.
If you were accused of any form of child endangerment, it is recommended that you seek advice from an experienced legal advocate. A top Connecticut child endangerment lawyer could protect your rights and your future. To schedule a consultation, call Mark Sherman Law today.