In Pennsylvania, child endangerment occurs when a parent, guardian or adult supervising a child under 18 puts the welfare of that child at risk. A person who endangers a child’s safety by violating a duty of care, protection or support, will face years in prison on misdemeanor or felony charges, depending on the circumstances of their case.
There are many instances when a child’s safety can be jeopardized and endangering the welfare of children charges can be made. A one-time bad judgment call can result in an arrest. For example, if you let your child ride in the back of an open-air vehicle without any restraint system.
However charges of endangering the welfare of children, as child endangerment is known in the Pennsylvania criminal code, aren’t always the result of real and intentional actions. In Pittsburgh, accusations are sometimes made during bitter custody fights that turn out to be false or greatly exaggerated.
Penalties For Child Endangerment
In Pennsylvania, child endangerment can result in a misdemeanor of the first degree and five years in prison for an offense that is a single instance of violating a duty of care.
If there is a course of conduct of endangering the welfare of a child, you can be charged with a felony of the third degree, punished by up to seven years in prison.
Child Endangerment In An Official Capacity
A person can be charged with committing endangering the welfare of children in an official capacity if they prevent or interfere with the making of a report of suspected child abuse.
Contact a Pittsburgh Child Endangerment Attorney
If you have been charged with child endangerment, your first step should be to immediately hire a lawyer. If you are someone who works in an official capacity and you prevent the reporting of suspected child abuse, you face other penalties beyond fines and prison time like employer-initiated penalties, possible termination from employment, and more. You may be jailed overnight or for several days before your bond is set. While you are in jail, do not talk about the incidents that occurred with anyone other than your attorney. Don’t talk to the police or prosecutors unless your attorney is with you. Do not consider any offers the police or prosecutors may make without talking to your attorney first. Your lawyer will have your best interests in mind and can help you make the decisions that are right for you under your specific circumstances. When you meet with your lawyer, tell them everything that happened both before and during your arrest.