New Jersey Endangering the Welfare of a Child
New Jersey puts a very strong stress on protecting vulnerable victims, such as infants, children, and minors. That is why endangering the welfare of a child is a serious indictable criminal offense in New Jersey. This means that the charges will be handled at the Superior Court by the County Prosecutor’s Office. Most people think that endangering the welfare of a child involves child abuse such as Aggravated Assault, however a large portion of the cases we handle involve child endangerment charges from negligent care. In fact, endangering the welfare of a child includes a wide range of “negligent conduct” such as using a minor to commit a crime, driving while intoxicated with a minor in your car, or leaving a child locked in the car.
Moreover, we often see child endangerment charges in cases involving sex crimes where the alleged victim is a minor. For instance, sexual assault of a minor or possession/distribution of child pornography will result in endangering the welfare of a child charges which can expose you to years in state prison and even Megan’s Law registration. This is why it is important to have the representation of an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can protect your rights and work with the prosecution towards a successful resolution. In fact, we have negotiated remands of our client’s child endangering charges and even admission into Pre-Trial Intervention. If you would like to learn more about how we can help you, then contact our office at (201) 793-8018 for a free consultation with a criminal defense lawyer experienced in handling child endangerment charges that can answer your questions and address your concerns.
Endangering the Welfare of a Child NJ Penalties
The New Jersey statute for endangering the welfare of a child is found under section 2C:24-4. The statute differentiates between two different degrees of child endangerment. For example, endangering the welfare of a child is normally graded as a third degree felony which is punishable by 3 – 5 years in state prison. For more circumstances involving more serious aggravating facts the state will upgrade the charges to second degree. A second degree crime is punishable by 5 – 10 years in state prison and carries a presumption of incarceration for even a first time offender. We have provided the statute, in pertinent part, below so you can easily reference it as a resource.
§ 2C:24-4. Endangering the Welfare of a Child
(1) Any person having a legal duty for the care of a child or who has assumed responsibility for the care of a child who engages in sexual conduct which would impair or debauch the morals of the child is guilty of a crime of the second degree. Any other person who engages in conduct or who causes harm as described in this paragraph to a child is guilty of a crime of the third degree.
(2)Any person having a legal duty for the care of a child or who has assumed responsibility for the care of a child who causes the child harm that would make the child an abused or neglected child as defined in R.S.9:6-1, R.S.9:6-3 and P.L.1974, c.119, s.1 (C.9:6-8.21) is guilty of a crime of the second degree. Any other person who engages in conduct or who causes harm as described in this paragraph to a child is guilty of a crime of the third degree.
Child Endangerment in New Jersey
As we mentioned earlier, endangering the welfare of a child can involve a wide range of different actions but the penalties are always just as serious. An experienced criminal lawyer can challenge the state’s evidence against you and work with the prosecutor to secure a downgrade. At Proetta & Oliver our criminal attorneys have successfully handled thousands of criminal charges including child endangerment. We represent clients throughout New Jersey including Jersey City, Newark, Union City, Bayonne, Secaucus, Hoboken, Bloomfield, North Bergen, and Montclair. If you would like to learn more about how we can help you, then contact us today at (201) 793-8018 for a free consultation with an experienced criminal attorney who can answer your questions.