Fairfield Child Endangerment Lawyer
Being accused of knowingly putting your child in harm’s way can have life-altering repercussions if not proactively and effectively contested. If you are dealing with criminal charges over this type of allegation, speaking with a Fairfield child endangerment lawyer should be your priority. Once retained, your dedicated defense attorney can work tirelessly to protect your rights in court and your relationship with your family outside of it.
How Does State Law Define Child Endangerment?
Rather than using the specific term “child endangerment,” the Connecticut Penal Code generally addresses a parent or guardian putting their child at risk of physical, emotional, or moral injury in one of two ways. This includes “risk of injury to a minor” under Connecticut General Statutes (C.G.S.) § 53-21 or “leaving a child unsupervised” under C.G.S. § 53-21a. A Fairfield child endangerment attorney can provide custom-tailored assistance to fight against charges filed under either statute.
Of the two charges, risk of injury is much more severe since it is generally considered a Class C felony and sometimes can even be treated as a Class B felony. Someone may be charged under this statute if they willfully or unlawfully permit any child under 16 years old to be put in a situation that:
- Endangers their life;
- Is likely to injure their health or morals;
- Allows for intimate physical contact with their genitals; and/or
- Transfers custody rights to someone else in exchange for financial compensation or other consideration.
Additionally, an individual who leaves their child, who is 12 years old or younger, unsupervised inside a car or a “place of public accommodation” for long enough to endanger the child’s safety may be prosecuted for a Class A misdemeanor. However, this offense becomes a Class D felony if the place in question has a license to sell alcohol for on-property consumption and a Class C felony if the child is left unsupervised between eight PM and six AM.
Is Child Endangerment a Family Violence Crime?
Child endangerment charges pursued under either statute listed above are not automatically considered family violence offenses since it is possible for someone to endanger their child without engaging in aggressive or violent conduct. However, Connecticut’s Department of Children and Families (“DCF”) will often use child endangerment charges and convictions as grounds to open an investigation into the defendant.
Over the course of 45 days, a DCF investigator may conduct surprise home inspections and interview the defendant and various family members multiple times. They will also typically look for evidence that might establish that a child endangerment charge is a sign of more systemic abuse or neglect, such as bruising or malnourishment. As a child endangerment attorney in Fairfield can further explain, substantiating such suspicions through a DCF investigation can lead to severe penalties with or without a related criminal conviction.
Let a Fairfield Child Endangerment Attorney Help Protect Your Family’s Rights
No matter how they arise, allegations of child endangerment are extremely serious matters that can have life-changing consequences. However, you still have rights when facing such a challenging scenario, and enforcing those rights is vital to protecting your entire family.
No one should try to resolve accusations like this without guidance from a seasoned Fairfield child endangerment lawyer. Click here to view our over 300 certified Avvo reviews, and call Mark Sherman Law today to schedule a confidential consultation.