Westport Risk of Injury to a Minor Lawyer
In order to keep children safe, laws enacted in Connecticut that involve child protection were drafted in broad, open terms to include many situations that could put a child’s welfare in danger. However, because these laws are vague, they can also be applied in situations which arguably pose no threat to a child whatsoever.
Police in Westport tend to err on the side of caution, so they frequently issue charges involving risk of injury to a minor if they even a slight reason to suspect the potential for harm to a child under the age of 16. While the charges may be issued for seemingly minor incidents, however, a risk of injury charge is a very serious felony offense punishable by up to 20 years in prison and significant fines.
Therefore, if you are arrested for child endangerment under CGS 53-21, speak with a Westport risk of injury to a minor lawyer who knows how the courts have applied the laws in circumstances such as yours. A qualified domestic violence attorney may be well equipped to advise you about the best course of action based on your unique situation.
What is a Risk of Injury Arrest?
Although often referred to as child endangerment, most charges in this area are brought under Connecticut statute § 53-21(a) entitled risk of injury or impairing the morals of children. This statute describes three different types of situations which constitute a violation.
The first offense is the broadest and for that reason, probably the most commonly charged risk of injury crime. This provision makes it a Class C felony offense to place a child under the age of 16 in a position that either:
- Poses a danger to the child’s life or limb
- Makes it likely that the health of a child will be impaired
- Makes it likely that the morals of a child will be impaired
Those convicted of violating this provision face penalties that include up to ten years imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000. A Westport risk of injury to a minor lawyer can attempt to mitigate the penalties that an individual may face.
Second and Third Offenses
The second offense described in CGS § 53-21(a) is the most serious and is considered a Class B felony. This offense occurs when an adult touches the intimate body parts of a minor under the age of 16 or allows the minor to touch the intimate body parts of the adult in a sexual and indecent manner that is deemed likely to cause harm to the moral or physical health of the child. A violation of this provision can result in a prison sentence as long as 20 years and a fine of up to $15,000, in addition to sex offender registration requirements.
The third-offense defined in CGS §53-21(a) prohibits the transfer of permanent custody of a minor under the age of 16 in exchange for money or anything of value. This provision excludes adoption procedures sanctioned under Connecticut law.
How a Westport Risk of Injury Attorney Can Help
In addition to the potential for heavy fines and jail time, a risk of injury arrest in Westport can also result in other unwelcome consequences such as an investigation by the Connecticut Department of Children and Families.
With the stakes so high, it is crucial to work with a Westport risk of injury to a minor lawyer who can understand how these cases proceed through the legal system, and how to devise the best strategy for success based on your individual circumstances.