Wilton Child Endangerment Penalties
Putting a child in harm’s way–whether intentionally or by accident–can have extremely serious consequences in both criminal and family court, some of which may be imposed upon you without a criminal conviction. If you are facing allegations along these lines and have questions about child endangerment penalties in Wilton, an experienced defense attorney can provide the answers you need.
What Are the Consequences of a Child Endangerment Conviction?
Rather than treating “child endangerment” as its own distinct criminal offense, law enforcement authorities generally arrest people suspected of endangering their children under one of two state statutes. More serious cases may result in a Risk of Injury to a Minor charge under Connecticut General Statutes (C.G.S.) § 53-21. Less severe child endangerment scenarios in Wilton may be penalized as leaving a child unsupervised as defined under C.G.S. § 53-21a.
The former offense entails someone willfully or knowingly causing or allowing their child to be put in a situation that directly endangers their life and limb, physical health, or moral well-being. Typically, violations of C.G.S. §53-21 are prosecuted as Class C felonies punishable by a maximum of ten years in prison plus up to $10,000 in fines. However, offenses involving sexual impropriety with a child, as addressed in this statute, are Class B felonies for which a conviction could result in 15 years of imprisonment and/or $15,000 in fines. Additionally, if the child in question is under 13, there is a mandatory minimum five-year term applicable. A mandatory minimum means that this amount of jail time cannot be suspended in any way.
Conversely, leaving a child under 12 unsupervised in a public place or inside a motor vehicle may be prosecuted as a Class A misdemeanor in many situations. This could result in a maximum one-year jail term and/or $2,000 in fines upon conviction. However, this offense becomes (1) a Class D felony carrying up to five years imprisonment and/or $5,000 in fines if the child in question was left alone in a public place with a liquor license, and (2) a Class C felony if the incident occurred at night.
What are Non-Criminal Child Endangerment Penalties?
If a court believes there is a risk of a child being harmed further by their parent or guardian after a child endangerment charge is filed, the court may issue a protective order against the defendant that lasts until their case concludes. This order may prohibit them from endangering the child any further by forcing them to stay physically separated from the child or even bar them from having any contact whatsoever with them for the duration of their legal proceedings.
Additionally, child endangerment allegations in Wilton often serve as grounds for an investigation by the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (“DCF”), which will proceed separately from criminal proceedings and may have different penalties. A “substantiated” finding from DCF in response to this sort of accusation could result in the subject of the investigation having various rights and privileges taken away, including custody or visitation with the child in question.
Let Our Attorneys Further Explain Wilton Child Endangerment Penalties
The specific consequences that a child endangerment charge may have will vary from person to person, as will the optimal defense strategy for fighting these charges both in and out of court. Anyone who wants help potentially mitigating their child endangerment penalties in Wilton should contact a seasoned attorney sooner rather than later. Reach out to the Law Offices of Mark Sherman for your confidential consultation, and click here to read what our past clients have to say about working with us.