The terms “child endangerment” and “child abuse” are often used interchangeably, so what are the differences between the two? What defenses are used to combat these charges, and how do the sentences differ? Our team has written out the answers for you.
Child endangerment is the act of endangering the health, life, or wellbeing of a child through indifference or negligence. Examples of this would include leaving a young child at home unsupervised, or driving while intoxicated with a child in the car.
New York law broadly defines child abuse as an intentional harmful act towards a child. This act, whether physical or emotional, is unnecessarily cruel and can often impact the child’s future behavior. The definition is so broad, in fact, that child abuse often encompasses crimes that may fall under child endangerment, such as not feeding a child. Typical examples of child abuse include hitting or sexually abusing a child.
Common defenses for child endangerment and child abuse are almost identical. In both instances, you must willfully and knowingly commit the act. If you did not intentionally or purposefully act to harm the child or endanger them, you lack the willfulness necessary to commit an act of child endangerment or abuse. Additionally, you have the right to discipline your child. If you acted with “reasonable discipline,” or discipline that a typical parent would use, there is no case for child endangerment or abuse.
Based on the severity of the crime, the court can sentence you to a variety of punishments. In New York, child endangerment is punishable by up to 1 year in federal prison, whereas child abuse sentences can include up to 5 years in federal prison.
In both endangerment and abuse cases, you can also lose guardianship over your child. You may have limited supervised access or, depending on the severity of the crime, you could lose all communication with your ward.
Preserve Your Relationship with Your Child – Call Our Firm Now at (845) 605-4330
Child endangerment and abuse charges are serious. At the Law Office of Dennis R. Vetrano, Jr., LLC, we understand the importance of staying involved in your child’s life. Charges often start from exaggerations, which is why our Beacon criminal defense attorneys take the time to analyze your charges, investigate the evidence, and work with you to fight these accusations. We always act with your interests in mind and will advocate for your rights in court. We have decades of experience defending clients and fight to get your charges dropped or reduced. Our Beacon criminal defense lawyers are in your corner. Contact our firm now.
Don’t let a false accusation ruin your family life. Call the Law Office of Dennis R. Vetrano, Jr., LLC now – (845) 605-4330.