Connecticut Child Endangerment Charges

An arrest for risk of injury to a minor can cause havoc to your employment background checks, online reputation, and also triggering a very disruptive and embarrassing Connecticut DCF investigation.

If you are arrested for Connecticut child endangerment charges , you should contact a domestic violence attorney as soon as possible.

Is Child Endangerment the Same as Risk of Injury to a Minor?

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 Connecticut’s Risk of Injury Statute?

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 Does the Risk of Injury Statute Cover?

This law covers a very broad range of conduct, such as leaving your child in a car alone, driving a child around while you are drunk or intoxicated, or administering certain types of physical discipline upon your child at home. If the police believe you engaged in conduct that violates this subsection of C.G.S. 53-21, then they will arrest you in Connecticut for Risk of Injury to a Minor Child under CGS 53-21. It is a Class C felony which carries a maximum jail sentence of 10 years, probation and a fine of up to $10,000 making it important a child endangerment attorney is contacted immediately.

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

Risk of Injury Arrests

The other and more serious subsection of the Connecticut Risk of Injury crime is C.G.S. 53-21(a)(2), which prohibits you from (1) having contact with the intimate parts of someone under 16 years old, or (2) subjecting a child under 16 years old to having contact with your intimate parts, in a manner that is sexual and indecent and is likely to cause health impairment or moral impairment to that child. As the top Stamford Connecticut criminal lawyers would explain, Connecticut defines “intimate parts” as the buttocks, breasts, inner thighs, genital area, groin, and anus.

It also includes any contact with substances secreted from these parts. You can be charged under this section if, for example, you inappropriately touch a child under 16 years old while they are in the bath.

Charges under this sub-section, unlike the charges under the first subsection C.G.S. 53-21(a)(1), are classified as Class B felonies, imposing jail sentences of up to 20 years, sex offender probation, national sex offender registration, and a fine of up to $15,000. Further, if you are found guilty of engaging in conduct prohibited by this section with a child under 13 years old, a guilty verdict will result in a mandatory minimum sentence of five years that the court cannot suspend or reduce.

Will a Risk of Injury Charge Lead to a DCF Investigation?

In many child endangerment situations, the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF) will conduct an investigation. If DCF believes a child is in danger, they may remove the child from the home. A local attorney could provide representation during a DCF investigation to protect the family’s privacy and help parents avoid making statements that could be used against them.

Contact a Connecticut Child Endangerment Attorney Today to Protect Your Rights

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.

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