Westport Risk of Injury to Minor Lawyer
Arrests for Risk of Injury to a Minor in Westport Connecticut can quickly involve multiple governmental agencies and unnecessary DCF intervention and involvement in your family life. Unlike other Connecticut felonies, Risk of Injury / Child Endangerment arrests in Westport Connecticut under C.G.S. 53-21 trigger two tracks of investigation and prosecution: (1) the criminal court process and (2) a corresponding Westport Connecticut DCF investigation. As the best Westport Connecticut criminal lawyers know, a Westport Connecticut arrest for Risk of Injury to a Minor reports to Norwalk Superior Court for prosecution and disposition. Additionally, and as the top Westport Connecticut DCF Investigation lawyers attorneys advise, a 53-21 Risk of injury arrest in Westport Connecticut also triggers a Westport Connecticut Department of Children & Families (“DCF”) investigation, where DCF investigators will attempt to interview your kids’ doctors and teachers if you do not push back. So if you are arrested in Westport Connecticut for Risk of Injury to a Minor in violation of C.G.S. 53-21, then the first thing you should do is contact a top Westport Connecticut criminal attorney.
How Does Connecticut Define a Risk of Injury to a Child?
Westport Connecticut arrests for Risk of Injury to a Minor under C.G.S. 53-21 usually fall into one of two categories. The first and most serious category forbids improper contact with a minor that is of a sexual nature. The second category criminalizes any other type of conduct that might endanger a minor, whether the danger is to the minor’s physical person, morals or health. Regardless, and as the best Westport Connecticut Risk of Injury criminal lawyers and attorneys would advise, if you are arrested for Risk of Injury in Westport Connecticut, then you will be going up against Connecticut prosecutors and DCF investigators who will be proceeding very slowly and cautiously, as they are usually under marching orders to not dismiss or drop any cases which involve the health and safety of children. Follow this link for a comprehensive discussion of Risk of Injury arrests in Connecticut.
Non-Sexual Contact Risk of Injury Arrests in Westport Connecticut
Top Westport Connecticut criminal attorneys understand that the more common felony Risk of Injury arrests in Westport Connecticut are for violation of C.G.S. § 53-21(a)(1), which prohibits placing a minor under 16 years old in physical danger, or in a position that would impair their morals or mental health. Even a quick reading of this Risk of Injury / Child Endangerment statute suggests that it is overly broad and open to wide interpretation and application by Westport Connecticut police. For example, you can be arrested in Westport Connecticut for felony Risk of Injury to a Minor / Child Endangerment if you are drunk driving with your child in your car, if you physically discipline your child in a manner that offends an onlooker, if you get into a verbal argument with your spouse in front of your child, or if you shoplift a box of diapers with a child in tow. As the best Westport Connecticut Risk of Injury criminal lawyers and attorneys know, the list of possible Risk of Injury offenses does not stop here. Even running into the market while leaving your child in the car unsupervised can get you arrested in Westport Connecticut for felony Child Endangerment / Risk of Injury under C.G.S. § 53-21(a)(1)…more on that later. Finally, a hot topic among the best Connecticut criminal lawyers is how police are now unnecessarily tacking on Connecticut Risk of Injury arrests in domestic violence cases. In fact, in Westport Connecticut domestic violence arrests where you engage in a physical or verbal altercation with your spouse in front of your child, you could actually be arrested in Westport Connecticut with both domestic violence and 53-21 Risk of Injury to a Minor, even though your child was not at all involved in the incident. These Connecticut Risk of Injury arrests can be gratuitous and designed solely to intimidate you in your court case.
Sexual Contact Risk of Injury Arrests in Westport Connecticut
The second category of conduct prohibited under the Connecticut Risk of Injury / Child Endangerment statute is contact of a sexual nature with a child under 16 years of age. Under this subdivision, you can get arrested in Westport Connecticut for having contact with the intimate parts of a minor under the age of 16, either intentionally or accidentally, in a manner that impairs the child’s morals or health. But what are “intimate parts” of a child? Top Connecticut Risk of Injury criminal lawyers would explain that under C.G.S. § 53a-65, intimate parts are defined as a minor’s inner thighs, buttocks, and genitals. Top Westport Connecticut criminal attorneys have seen arrests in Westport Connecticut for Risk of Injury – Sexual Contact in cases where parents, nannies, babysitters and relatives engage in inappropriate horseplay with a child, or even cases where they are innocently giving a child a bath.
No matter whether you are a parent, doctor, a blood relative, or the usual babysitter of a child, you are not immune from a Westport Connecticut Risk of Injury arrest investigation if you are accused of improper touching. In fact, some of the best Westport Connecticut criminal lawyers frequently work side by side with top Westport Connecticut divorce attorneys to make sure that their clients are not being falsely arrested for Risk of Injury in Westport Connecticut as part of a power play in a nasty divorce. Jilted spouses will do almost anything to jam up their spouses in a bitter custody battle, including getting them arrested in Westport Connecticut for Risk of Injury. Finally, top Westport Connecticut criminal lawyers also see Risk of Injury arrests in Westport Connecticut go hand-in-hand with Westport Connecticut arrests for Sexual Assault in the Second Degree in violation of C.G.S. 53a-71 (also known as Statutory Rape), where police know that if they cannot prove sexual intercourse, then they can at least prove some sort of improper sexual contact or touching. Follow this link for more information on the unfair interplay and overlap of Statutory Rape / Second Degree Sexual Assault and Risk of Injury arrests in Westport Connecticut.
What Are the Penalties for a Risk of Injury Arrest?
If you are convicted of Risk of Injury (whether at trial or by voluntary guilty plea), you can be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison and face fines of up to $15,000. In addition to a jail sentence and a fine, you can be required to register as a sex offender and undergo sex offender probation for convictions of the Risk of Injury – Sexual Contact with Intimate Parts subsection. Before pleading guilty to any Risk of Injury arrest in Westport Connecticut, be sure to contact a top Westport Connecticut criminal lawyer to learn about the life-changing consequences of sex offender registration and probation. The stakes are extremely high with Westport Connecticut sex crime arrests, so be sure you have one of the best Westport Connecticut criminal lawyer advising you.
Risk of Injury DCF Investigations in Westport Connecticut
As any top Westport Connecticut DCF lawyer attorney knows, an arrest in Westport Connecticut for Risk of Injury to a Minor under CGS 53-21 will always prompt a DCF investigation in Westport Connecticut. You see, as soon as the police respond to a 911 call that involves a child under 16, they are required to call Connecticut DCF if they have any reasonable suspicions of physical or emotional abuse or neglect. This means that Westport Connecticut police can start a DCF case against you even if they do not have enough evidence to arrest you for Risk of Injury!
What happens next can only be described as a maelstrom of DCF intervention (to put it kindly). Once DCF receives a referral, they are required to aggressively investigate and interview you, talk to everyone in your home, and question your minor children to determine whether your kids are safe and free from physical or emotional harm. The DCF investigation process is comprehensive and can at times be heavy-handed (click here for a more in-depth discussion of Connecticut DCF investigations). If necessary, DCF investigators will even show up unannounced at your house and children’s schools. They are required by law to meet tight deadlines, so they will keep coming back if you blow them off or don’t answer your door. To be clear, they will not just “go away.” And in certain cases, if you refuse to meet with them or sign their paperwork, the DCF lawyers can take you to court to get more intervention, or even seek temporary custody of your children. Top Connecticut DCF lawyers typically fight DCF investigations in Westport Connecticut by protecting your privacy, blocking DCF investigators from going to your children’s schools, doctors and neighbors, and stopping them from asking questions about your kids around town that could raise suspicions about you. The best Westport Connecticut DCF lawyers will do whatever it takes to get your Westport Connecticut DCF investigation closed quickly. Additionally, if you did not hire a top Connecticut DCF lawyer and you received a letter that says the DCF claims of abuse or neglect against you have been substantiated, then you should contact a top Connecticut DCF appeals lawyer to learn whether it makes sense to appeal the DCF substantiation of abuse or neglect. For more information about fighting Connecticut DCF substantiation appeals, click here.
Arrests in Westport Connecticut for Leaving a Child Unsupervised in a Motor Vehicle
Another frequent Risk of Injury arrest in Westport Connecticut is for leaving your minor child unattended in your car or motor vehicle. This is a common arrest in Connecticut suburbs such as Westport, Greenwich, Fairfield, Stamford, and New Canaan Connecticut, where parents want to quickly run errands in shopping centers while their kids are asleep in the car. While many parents believe that this is a harmless act and should not be a crime, there have been several hot car deaths of children in Connecticut over the past several years. As a result, Connecticut police and prosecutors are enforcing these laws to deter other parents and caretakers from leaving their child unsupervised in a car or motor vehicle. While the concern is legitimate, what Westport Connecticut police do not understand is how damaging a felony arrest in Westport Connecticut for Risk of Injury to a Minor can be to your job or reputation. Once your arrest report is published on the internet for felony Risk of Injury, it is very difficult to undo the damage to your reputation and career. That’s probably why Connecticut lawmakers created the misdemeanor arrest in Connecticut for Leaving Your Child Unsupervised in a Motor Vehicle, under C.G.S. 53-21a. This is the most appropriate arrest in Westport Connecticut for these types of cases, yet, inexplicably, and probably because Connecticut police do not understand the laws on this issue, Westport, New Canaan and Darien police continue to “over-charge” people with Risk of Injury for leaving their children in a car unsupervised. Click here for more on fighting Westport Connecticut arrests for Risk of Injury / Leaving a Child Unsupervised in Car.
Contact a Westport Connecticut Risk of Injury Lawyer Today
As you can see, Westport Connecticut arrests for Risk of Injury / Child Endangerment come with many moving parts. Guilty pleas can result in felony convictions, jail time, fines, and in some cases, sex offender registration and probation. Plus, almost every arrest has a DCF Investigation that follows, which has it own impact on you and your entire family. So if you have been arrested in Westport Connecticut for Risk of Injury / Child Endangerment, then you should contact a Westport Risk of Injury lawyer at Mark Sherman Law today. Our priority is getting your criminal charges dismissed as quickly and cost-effectively as possible, as well as getting Connecticut DCF out of your lives and having them close your case without any substantiation of abuse or neglect against you. And upon dismissal of your Westport Connecticut arrest, we can work with you to try to erase your online Westport Connecticut arrest reports from the Internet so that you can restore your professional reputation to what it was prior to arrest. So contact one of our experienced lawyers today at (203) 358-4700. We are available 24/7 to take your call.