Endangering the welfare of a child is serious business in the State of Mississippi. Typically, we hear about this charge being associated with driving under the influence (DUI) cases, but it’s possible to be charged with endangering the welfare of a child in a variety of other situations. Child endangerment usually happens when a child is present during the commission of just about any type of crime. If a child’s welfare is endangered, you could be charged for it. In some cases, you can even be charged with endangering the welfare of a child if he or she was present during a relatively minor crime.Child Endangerment
Child endangerment is how the law approaches the safety of a child. A variety of different crimes can be combined with child endangerment, because the law sees criminal activity as dangerous to children. There doesn’t necessarily have to be a weapon or gun present. In fact, if you’re arrested and charged with DUI and you have a child in the car, you’re likely going to be facing child endangerment charges too. If a child is facing any kind of danger, or even the potential for danger, given the circumstances, charges associated with endangering the welfare of a child can be added to a case. These charges can be associated with abuse, neglect, drug crimes, driving under the influence and a variety of other charges. Any time a child could potentially be exposed to a criminal act, you could be facing child endangerment charges.Careless, Reckless and Negligent Behavior
If you’re involved in any type of crime involving careless, reckless or negligent behavior and a child is involved or present, you’re likely going to be slapped with a child endangerment charge. Depending upon the severity of the crime involved, you could be facing misdemeanor or felony child endangerment charges. Where children are involved, it’s important to understand that crimes and criminal charges can take on the additional weight of an endangerment charge. Even if a child isn’t actually injured or doesn’t appear to be in danger, it’s possible to face a child endangerment charge. Every case is different, so it’s a good idea to talk to your lawyer about the unique details of your case.Child Endangerment in a DUI
If you’re arrested and charged with driving under the influence, and a child was in the car at the time of the arrest, you’re most likely going to have an additional charge of child endangerment added tacked on. It doesn’t matter if you were involved in a car accident or if the child was injured. The law considers a child in a car with a suspected drunk driver to be in immediate danger. If you’ve been charged with driving under the influence and there was a child in the car at the time of the incident, you need to contact a skilled criminal defense attorney as soon as possible about your case.Penalties Associated With Child Endangerment
If you’re convicted of child endangerment, depending upon the severity, you could be facing jail time, fines or even incarceration in prison. Misdemeanor charges will have penalties of up to one year in jail, and felony charges will have penalties of at least one year in prison. For either type of charge, you could also have fines and a variety of other penalties associated with the crime or crimes, like parenting courses or drug and alcohol programs.What About Child Abuse and Neglect?
Child abuse and neglect aren’t always associated with endangering the welfare of a child, but the charges can overlap in some cases. Child abuse or neglect can involve parents, grand parents, caregivers or anybody else who has the custody of children for any period of time. Cases involving drug offences can certainly be associated with child endangerment, and depending upon the circumstances of a neglect or abuse case, there could also be endangerment charges.When to Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney in Jackson
If you or somebody you love has been charged with child endangerment or endangering the welfare of a child, contact a skilled criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The implications of a child endangerment conviction can last a lot longer than the initial penalties, so fighting the charge needs to be your first and most important priority. If you have been charged with child endangerment in Jackson or the surrounding communities, contact the experienced and proven criminal defense team at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC at (877) 231-1600 for an immediate case consultation.