Westport Child Endangerment Lawyer
In Westport, charges involving risk of injury and child endangerment can apply to a number of different situations where there is a risk to the physical or moral health of minors under 16 years of age.
Often charges of risk of injury to minors or child endangerment are included in cases involving domestic disputes. If one party makes an allegation against another, police would rather not take any chances of missing a dangerous situation, so they may add endangerment charges even if evidence is slight.
While charges of child endangerment may be common, they are certainly not minor. Most charges are felonies with potential penalties that include lengthy prison terms and considerable fines. That’s why it’s critical to consult a Westport child endangerment lawyer with experience to achieve the optimum outcome as soon as possible. Contact a skilled domestic violence lawyer who can strive to achieve a positive outcome for you.
Connecticut’s Risk of Injury Statute
Although the Connecticut code contains a variety of laws intended to protect children from harm, many cases of child endangerment involve a particular statute, CGS 53-21, which refers to risk of injury to minors under the age of 16. This statute sets forth several situations which constitute a felony offense.
The first is broad and includes a general risk of harm, the second concerns sexual contact, and the third involves transfer of custody.
Situational Risk of Injury – Impairing Morals
Section 53-21(a)(1) is probably the most common child endangerment arrest in Westport. This crime states that an individual will be in violation when someone places a child’s life in danger, places a child in a situation likely to cause the child physical harm, and/or places a child in a situation likely to cause harm to the child’s morals. There are hundreds of possible situations which could pose a risk to a child’s health or morals, so the possibilities for violation of this felony statute are virtually endless.
Penalties for a Westport Arrest
Anyone charged with risk of injury in Westport should be aware that it is treated as a Class C felony under Connecticut law, which means that potential penalties include up to ten years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. A Westport child endangerment lawyer can help individuals mitigate the penalties that they may face.
The most serious provision under the risk of injury statute is set forth in Section 53-21(a)(2). This offense involves situations where an adult has contact with the intimate body parts of a minor under the age of 16 or subjects the minor to contact with the adult’s intimate body parts in a “sexual and indecent manner.” Those found guilty face up to 20 years in prison and a fine as high as $15,000.
Other Risk of Injury Cases
Besides the risk of injury statute, other statutes also often come into play in child endangerment cases.One such example is an arrest for leaving a child unsupervised in a motor vehicle. While this offense is a misdemeanor if committed during daytime hours, if the child is left after 8 p.m. then the offense elevates to a Class C felony. It is also a felony is a child under age 12 is left in an establishment licensed to sell alcoholic beverages.
In addition, other crimes that may be charged relating to child endangerment include transferring permanent custody in exchange for payment, failing to report the disappearance of a minor, and abandonment of a child under the age of 6.
Hiring a Defense Attorney
With the potential for severe penalties and vague provisions that can be difficult to comprehend, child endangerment charges require aggressive representation and the aid of an experienced professional.
A Westport child endangerment lawyer will understand how the courts have applied the laws in circumstances similar to yours and how to build the best possible defense. An experienced lawyer can begin providing guidance right away to help you work toward a positive outcome outcome.