Fairfield Child Endangerment Penalties
An allegation that you endangered your child that results in criminal charges can have incredibly harsh consequences, including, but not limited to, steep fines, years behind bars, and various sanctions from family court judges and/or state authorities that could be applied even if you are not convicted of any criminal wrongdoing. Support from a capable defense attorney is key to understanding and effectively minimizing child endangerment penalties in Fairfield.
What Are the Criminal Sanctions for Child Endangerment Charges?
The severity of a criminal charge for alleged child endangerment varies depending on the circumstances, since different dangerous actions may result in charges under various state statutes. Someone knowingly or negligently putting their child under 16 years old in a situation that poses a significant risk of serious physical and/or moral injury could be charged under Connecticut General Statutes (C.G.S.) § 53-21. Someone leaving their child under 12 years old unattended in a place where they might end up being hurt might be charged under C.G.S. § 53-21a.
The former offense is generally treated as a Class C felony, which means maximum sanctions upon conviction could include ten years of imprisonment, one year of which is mandatory, and $10,000 in fines. Mandatory minimums cannot be reduced or suspended. However, if someone violates C.G.S. § 53-21 by engaging in inappropriate contact with a child’s intimate areas or by compelling a child to make such contact with their private areas, the offense becomes a Class B felony. This holds a maximum 20-year prison term plus a mandatory minimum five-year term if the child in question is under 13, and $15,000 in fines.
By comparison, the penalties for child endangerment charges in Fairfield pursued under C.G.S. § 53-21a are much less severe, as the basic version of this offense is a Class A misdemeanor punishable at most by one year in jail and $2,000 in fines. However, if someone leaves their child unattended in a bar, restaurant, or other “place of public accommodation” with a liquor license, they may be prosecuted for a Class D felony and face up to five years imprisonment plus a maximum of $5,000 in fines. Additionally, leaving a young child unattended at night is generally considered a Class C felony.
What Are the Possible Consequences Outside of Criminal Court?
If an arresting law enforcement officer decides that a child endangerment charge constitutes a family violence crime, the court overseeing that case may impose a protective order against the defendant. This is typically to prevent further harm to the child in question. A protective order could be as simple as a requirement to refrain from further acts of violence, or it could impose substantial restrictions on where the defendant can live, work, travel, or whom they can contact until their trial concludes.
On top of that, child endangerment allegations often serve as grounds for employees of the state Department of Children and Families (“DCF”) to formally investigate the defendant. If this investigation substantiates the Department’s suspicions of more widespread neglect or abuse, the penalties they may impose over what was once just a child endangerment charge could be as severe as the removal of visitation or custody rights. A tenacious attorney can help individuals facing these allegations build a powerful defense to avoid harsh child endangerment penalties in Fairfield.
Discuss Child Endangerment Penalties with a Fairfield Attorney
Endangering a child can result in exceptionally harsh consequences if it leads to a criminal conviction. Even if you are never charged, you could still face substantial problems in family court and potentially from DCF investigators as well.
In both scenarios, assistance from skilled legal counsel makes a significant difference in how proactively you can fight back against Fairfield child endangerment penalties. Learn more by calling the Law Offices of Mark Sherman today, and click here to visit our Avvo profile with over 300 certified reviews from past clients.