Fort Worth Child Endangerment Lawyer
A charge alleging child endangerment is very serious. Not only are you facing potential jail time and fines, you could lose custody of your child. A Fort Worth child endangerment lawyer will help you understand the repercussions of a conviction. Our team of experienced criminal defense attorneys will fight to protect your freedom and your family.
What is Child Endangerment?
Under Texas Penal Code Section 22.041, child endangerment occurs when someone puts a child under the age of 15 at risk of injury, disablement, or death. It is crucial to note that the child does not need to be your own for you to be accused of endangerment, nor does the alleged action have to be intentional. Certain careless or negligent behaviors may be charged as child endangerment. In addition to parents and guardians, teachers, daycare workers and babysitters are also often charged with child endangerment.
What are Examples of Child Endangerment?
Any behavior that presents an immediate danger of harm or death to anyone younger than 15 may be charged as child endangerment. As such, a wide range of actions may be classified under this charge, including:
- Leaving a child unsupervised in an unsafe area;
- Manufacturing methamphetamine in front of a child;
- Driving under the influence with a child passenger;
- Recklessly operating a motor vehicle with a child passenger;
- Failing to properly secure a child passenger with a seat belt;
- Failing to lock away firearm weapons when a child is nearby;
- Abandoning a child six years old or younger in a car for more than five minutes without the supervision of another passenger who is 14 or older;
- Permitting the consumption of illegal drugs by a child; and
- Engaging in sexual activity while a child is in view.
As mentioned, child endangerment charges have serious consequences. It is important to hire an experienced Fort Worth attorney who will build an aggressive defense in an effort to show that the defendant never intended to endanger a child and the claims are inconsistent with his or her character.
Fort Worth Consequences for Endangering a Minor
Child endangerment is generally a felony in Texas. Depending on the facts and circumstances, the defendant can face anywhere from a state jail felony up to a second-degree felony.
For example, if an individual abandons a child with intent to return, he or she faces a state jail felony, punishable by up to six months to two years in a state jail facility and a maximum $10,000 fine. If the individual is found to have put the child at risk of immediate danger of death, bodily injury or physical or mental impairment, the charge could be elevated to a felony of the second degree, punishable by up to a 20 years in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine.
Driving with a child while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol is a state jail felony, punishable by up to two years in a state jail facility, a 180-day license suspension, and up to a $10,000 fine. A child endangerment lawyer in Fort Worth will help you understand the charges against you and the range of punishment you face.
It’s important to also understand that Child Protective Services will likely become involved if you or a loved one is accused of child endangerment. CPS has a great deal of leverage because if you do not cooperate with their investigation, officials could ask a court to restrict or limit access to your children. Not to mention, anything you say to CPS could be relayed to law enforcement and potentially used against you. That is why it is vital to contact a child endangerment attorney as soon as you become the target of an investigation.
Get Help from a Fort Worth Child Endangerment Lawyer
Time is of the essence when it comes to securing qualified legal representation to handle your case. A skilled Fort Worth child endangerment lawyer will begin building a powerful defense against your allegations right away. Call our office today to set up your free consultation.