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What Is Child Endangerment In Texas?

Pursuant to Penal Code 22.041, endangering a child in Texas occurs when a person places a child under the age of 15 in danger of death, bodily injury, or physical or mental impairment. Child endangerment in Texas can be by act or omission. The act or omission can be done intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or negligently. The legal framework surrounding child endangerment in Texas is designed to penalize those who place children under the age of 15 in situations that could potentially harm their physical, mental, or emotional well-being. 

In Texas, child endangerment is defined as any act or omission by a person who has custody, care, or control of a child younger than 15 years who intentionally abandons the child in any place under circumstances that expose the child to an unreasonable risk of harm. Additionally, engaging in conduct that places a child in imminent danger of death, bodily injury, or physical or mental impairment also constitutes child endangerment.

Situations Where Child Endangerment is Presumed:

  1. Manufacturing a methamphetamine in the presence of a child.
  2. Making methamphetamine accessible to a child and the child has methamphetamine in their system.
  3. Using a Penalty Group One substance around a child.

What is the Punishment for Child Endangerment in Texas?

Child endangerment in Texas is a State Jail Felony. The range of punishment is 180 days to 2 years, and up to a $10,000 fine.

Note that abandoning a child (also in the child endangerment statute) calls for a third degree felony punishment if the child was abandoned without the intent to return.

What is the Statutory Defense for Child Endangerment?

It is a defense to child endangerment that the act or omission was to allow the child to participate in an athletic event or practice with appropriate safety equipment.

What to Expect If the Police Suspect You Endangered a Child?

You will most likely have an officer or detective reach out to you to discuss what happened. You should hire an attorney before considering talking to a detective.

Do not talk to the police without an attorney. This is the single-most important thing to remember when you are being accused of any offense. Most people do not realize the police are allowed to lie to you and have years of experience and training to elicit the answers they are looking for.

You should also expect CPS to become involved in the investigation. CPS has a great deal of leverage to make you talk in most situations because if you do not cooperate with their investigation, they may ask a court to make sure you no longer have access to your children. Making things worse, anything you say to CPS will be given to law enforcement and potentially used against you.

Contact us

Call us at (817) 203-2220 or reach out online for a complimentary strategy session with an experienced child endangerment lawyer. Our team of former prosecutors and Board Certified Criminal Lawyers are here to help. During this call we will:

  • Discuss the facts of the allegation;
  • Discuss the legal issues involved, including potential consequences of the allegation; and
  • Discuss the defenses that apply our approach to your case.
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