Norwalk Child Endangerment Lawyer
Norwalk police and prosecutors liberally apply the terms “risk of injury to a minor” and “child endangerment” to a variety of different circumstances which might put a minor at risk of injury to their physical or moral health. A distinguished domestic violence attorney can provide invaluable help in dealing with a Risk of Injury arrest to minimize the risk to your criminal record. A skilled Norwalk child endangerment lawyer can help protect your online and offline reputations, and work toward your best possible outcome.
Classifying Endangerment Offenses
Felony Risk of Injury arrests are frequently and gratuitously tacked on to Norwalk, Connecticut domestic violence cases, even when the children are not involved in the dispute, but may be sleeping in the home or are in the vicinity of the dispute. The problem is that these child endangerment charges often carry penalties that are more serious than the penalties involved in the underlying case, so they must be handled aggressively and with extreme care.
While Connecticut enforces a number of statutes designed to protect minors from danger, cases of child endangerment very often involve the statute defining crimes encompassing “risk of injury” to children under the age of 16. Connecticut General Statutes describe three different types of conduct that are prohibited. One describes a broad, situational risk of harm, another involves sexual misconduct, and the third prohibits the “sale of children.”
Defining Situational Arrests
Because the first provision is so broad and rather vague, it is commonly charged in child endangerment cases. Many Norwalk child endangerment attorneys call this crime “Situational” Risk of Injury. An individual may not put a child under the age of 16 in circumstances which are likely to put a child’s life in danger, harm the health of a child or harm their morals.
Penalties for Risk of Injury Arrests
Because so many situations can arguably pose a risk to a child’s health or morals, it is easy to see how an individual could be charged with this offense. The problem is that it is a Class C felony with penalties that include a maximum of 10 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
The risk of injury provision is more serious and is treated as a Class B felony with penalties that include up to 20 years imprisonment and a fine as high as $15,000. This offense prohibits improper sexual contact with a child, forbidding an adult from either touching the intimate body parts of a minor under the age of 16, or subjecting the minor to contact with the adult’s intimate body parts in an indecent manner.
Leaving Children Unsupervised in a Car
Under state law, there are several other statutory offenses that may be viewed as child endangerment. For instance, CGS 53-21a forbids parents and guardians from leaving a minor under the age of 12 unsupervised in a place of public accommodation or motor vehicle “for a period of time that presents a substantial risk to the child’s health or safety.”
This offense is a misdemeanor if it is committed during the day but a felony if committed after 8:00 p.m. It is also a felony if the child is left unsupervised in a location that is licensed to serve alcohol. Additional offenses that may crop up in child endangerment cases include failing to report the disappearance of a minor and abandonment of a child under the age of six.
If you have been arrested in Norwalk for Risk of Injury, it is crucial to work with a Norwalk child endangerment lawyer who is thoroughly familiar with how the courts have interpreted the statutes in different situations. They can help you build a strong defense strategy with the greatest potential for success.