Fairfield Risk of Injury to Minor Lawyer
As any of the best defense attorneys know all too well, getting arrested in for any form of child endangerment triggers both a criminal court case and a Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF) investigation. There is a lot at stake. First, getting arrested for Risk of Injury under C.G.S. § 53-21 is a felony, and could result in your name being published on a public sex offender registry.
These arrests run the gamut of contact and conduct between an adult and a child:
- Aggressive or inappropriate horseplay
- Leaving a child unsupervised in a motor vehicle
- Aggressive physical discipline or corporal punishment that is viewed as too violent
- Committing a domestic violence crime in front of your children
No matter why you were arrested, top Fairfield Connecticut risk of injury to minor lawyers can explain that a completely separate investigation of you and your children by DCF investigators will likely immediately follow.
With so much at stake, you will need to get your charges dismissed as quickly as possible. You will, however, be going up against cautious Bridgeport Connecticut Superior Court prosecutors and judges who will want to take your case slow, not only in an abundance of caution, but also to cover the liability and exposure of the government, who could be held liable if they let you off too easily and quickly from your arrest. So if you are facing a 53-21 Risk of Injury arrest, then be sure to contact legal representation as soon as possible.
What Can Get Me Arrested for Risk of Injury to a Minor in Connecticut?
Top Connecticut attorneys can explain that Risk of Injury / Child Endangerment statute is divided into two subsections under CGS 53-21. The severity of your Fairfield Connecticut arrest for C.G.S. 53-21 Risk of Injury depends on whether you are accused of having sexual contact with the minor. Each subsection carries its own set of penalties, and our team appreciates how critical the distinctions are between the two subsections.
Non-Sexual Contact under C.G.S. § 53a-21(a)(1)
Under the non-sexual contact subsection of Connecticut’s Risk of Injury statute, you can be arrested in Connecticut for Risk of Injury for causing any child under the age of 16 to be placed in any type of physical danger or any situation which compromises their moral, physical, or mental health. Any top attorney will tell you that this statute is overly broad (perhaps unconstitutionally broad) and covers a long list of scenarios which may not seem like criminal acts, but can actually get you arrested in Fairfield Connecticut for Risk of Injury to a Minor.
Top attorneys can explain that a CGS 53-21 arrest does not require your child to actually be in actual risk—rather, the remote possibility of harm can be enough to justify probably cause for an arrest for Risk of Injury, such as leaving your child unsupervised in your car while you run an errand, letting your child ride a bike without a helmet, driving with your kids in the car while you are on prescription drugs or narcotics, or spanking your children too forcefully. Today’s legal attitudes toward children are approached as cautiously as possible…police departments in Fairfield, Westport, Wilton and Weston Connecticut are not taking chances.
Sexual Contact Risk of Injury Arrests – C.G.S. § 53a-21(a)(2)
Under the second and more serious subsection of Connecticut’s Risk of Injury statute, it is against Connecticut law to have contact with the intimate parts of a child under the age of 16 that in any way jeopardizes the health or morals of the child. Top criminal lawyers understand the term “intimate parts” to mean a child’s genital areas, buttocks, anus, groin and inner thighs. The enforcement of this law should send a stern warning to Connecticut parents, nannies, babysitters and caretakers of children under 16 years of age. Many common caretaking activities with a minor child could actually get you arrested for Risk of Injury – Contact with Intimate Parts in Fairfield, Connecticut, such as giving your child a bath, disciplining a child, or rough-housing / horseplay with a child.
If there are any suspicions or allegations of Risk of Injury – Intimate Parts made against you, then you should contact a top Fairfield Connecticut criminal attorney as early as possible, as the Fairfield police and Fairfield DCF offices will be looking to question you immediately upon receiving a complaint. Additionally, top Fairfield Connecticut sex assault and statutory rape criminal lawyers often see Risk of Injury – Intimate Parts arrests gratuitously tacked on to more serious Connecticut arrests for Statutory Rape / Second Degree Sexual Assault under C.G.S. § 53a-71 (click here to learn more about Connecticut Statutory Rape arrests in Fairfield Connecticut). This is a common prosecutorial maneuver, as a Fairfield Risk of Injury – Contact with Intimate Parts arrest is much easier to prove to a jury than a Sexual Assault – Second Degree charge because the Risk of Injury statute is so broadly written. These are precisely the kind of aggressive and oppressive strong-arm tactics Fairfield Connecticut prosecutors may sometimes apply when they know they have a weak case against you and want to pressure you to plead out.
Penalties for Risk of Injury Arrests in Fairfield, Connecticut
All Risk of Injury to a Minor arrests are required to appear in Bridgeport Superior Court (because there is not criminal courthouse in Fairfield Connecticut). As far as the penalties for Risk of Injury convictions in Connecticut, if you plead guilty or are found guilty at trial for an arrest, then you could be facing up to 20 years in jail, a maximum fine of $15,000, and possible sex offender probation and registration, depending on which subdivision is charged in your case. If you are found guilty of Sexual Contact Risk of Injury to a minor under 13 years old, then you are facing a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 5 years.
DCF Investigations for Fairfield Connecticut Risk of Injury Arrests
When you are arrested in Fairfield Connecticut for Risk of Injury to a Minor under CGS 53-21, the arresting officer will almost always make a referral to investigators for the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (known as “DCF”). DCF is then required by law to open its own investigation against you to determine if the child has been abused or neglected in any way including, physical, sexual and emotional abuse. This Fairfield Connecticut DCF investigation will be a completely separate proceeding that you will need to deal with, in addition to the criminal court charges you will be facing. As the best Fairfield Connecticut DCF lawyers and attorneys appreciate, the DCF investigators will conduct a thorough and invasive examination into your home and children’s lives, as they will attempt to interview your entire family, friends, medical provider’s and children’s teachers. They will try to interview your children without you present. Understand, however, that you have rights to say no and to push back against aggressive DCF investigators. You have rights to the assistance of a top Fairfield Connecticut DCF lawyer attorney who can sit by your side, and assist your family through the entire investigation. And finally, know that anything you or your family says during a Fairfield Connecticut DCF investigation can be shared with Fairfield Connecticut police and can be used against you in your Fairfield Risk of Injury criminal case. So if you are the target of a Connecticut DCF investigation, you should contact a Fairfield Connecticut DCF attorney lawyer to help the investigation run as smoothly as possible and to help prevent any DCF substantiation finding of abuse or neglect. Click here for more information on fighting your Fairfield, Connecticut DCF investigation.
Risk of Injury Arrests for Leaving Your Child Unsupervised in a Car
One arrest that is becoming more common in suburban communities like Fairfield and Westport Connecticut is for felony Risk of Injury for leaving your child unattended in a motor vehicle. Police are way off base in charging this felony crime in these scenarios, as there is a misdemeanor law which much more appropriate and on point—Leaving a Child Unsupervised in a Motor Vehicle under C.G.S. § 53-21a. Why police continue to arrest parents and nannies for Felony Risk of Injury instead of the appropriate misdemeanor arrest for 53-21a Leaving Your Child Unsupervised in Motor Vehicle still baffles top attorneys. Notwithstanding which charge you are facing, there are defense strategies that our team can apply to get these charges dismissed, even if you are in fact guilty of leaving your child in a car unattended, even just for a few minutes.
Contact a Fairfield Criminal Risk of Injury Attorney Today
An arrest for Risk of Injury to a Minor in Fairfield Connecticut can quickly escalate into not only a felony conviction, but also a Connecticut DCF abuse or neglect substantiation. So if you have been arrested for Risk of Injury to a Minor in Connecticut, you should contact a Fairfield Connecticut criminal lawyer who is well-versed in Risk of Injury / Child Endangerment laws. The team of Fairfield Risk of Injury lawyers at Mark Sherman Law understand how serious these types of charges are and how they can easily damage your reputation. We will work with you and your family as quickly and cost-effectively as possible to help get your charges dismissed and, in certain cases, removed and scrubbed from the internet. We also understand just how serious and intrusive DCF investigations can be and will try to ensure that the investigation runs as quickly and smoothly as possible. Contact Mark Sherman Law today. We are available at all hours to take your call.