Darien Child Endangerment Penalties
The Connecticut Penal Code provides several offenses which cover a parent or guardian putting their child at risk of physical, emotional, or moral harm, all of which could have serious repercussions even for first-time offenders. Understanding Darien child endangerment penalties is critical to knowing what to expect from a criminal case and for preparing and executing an effective defense strategy.
Consequences of a “Risk of Injury” Conviction
In many instances, someone accused of endangering their child to a criminally actionable degree will be charged and prosecuted under one of two statutes, Connecticut General Statutes (C.G.S.) § 53-21 or 53-21a. The former of these two statutes addresses “injury or risk of injury to, or impairing morals of, children,” as well as the sale of physical custody of a child to someone else in exchange for money or anything of value.
Someone who knowingly allows or causes a child under 16-years old to be put in any situation which endangers their “life or limb,” is likely to cause injury to their physical health, or is likely to impair their morals may be prosecuted under C.G.S. §53-21 for a Class C felony offense. This means someone convicted in Darien of this form of child endangerment could face maximum penalties of one to ten years in state prison and a maximum of $10,000 in fines. As defined by this statute, an unlawful sale of physical custody is also a Class C felony.
Furthermore, someone who makes physical contact with the intimate parts of a child under 16 or subjects the child to physical contact with their private parts in a “sexual and indecent manner” may face Class B felony charges. If convicted, someone charged with this form of risk of injury to a child could face between one and 20 years of imprisonment and/or a maximum of $15,000 in fines.
Possible Penalties for Leaving a Child Unsupervised
As per C.G.S. §53-21a, a parent or guardian who knowingly leaves their child under 12-years old unsupervised inside a motor vehicle or in a place of public accommodation for long enough to substantially endanger their health or safety will be prosecuted as a Class A misdemeanor. This offense is punishable upon conviction by up to one year of incarceration plus $2,000 in fines. The same penalties may be imposed against any parent or guardian convicted of knowingly failing to report the disappearance of their child under 12-years old to law enforcement after 24 hours of having no contact with them and not knowing their location.
Notably, someone who leaves their child alone in a place of public accommodation with a license to sell alcohol for consumption on the premises may have their charge upgraded to a Class D felony. This would be punishable by a maximum five-year term in prison or $5,000 in fines. Finally, leaving a child under 12 unsupervised in a vehicle or a place of public accommodation between 8:00PM and 6:00AM for a long enough time to endanger them physically is a Class C felony.
Let a Darien Attorney Further Explain Child Endangerment Penalties
Child endangerment offenses are prosecuted harshly in Connecticut. When you want the best chance of mitigating Darien child endangerment penalties associated with your charge, you will almost certainly need help from an experienced attorney.