When it comes to crimes involving children, everything is more intense. Charges are often specific in nature, penalties are often more severe, and offenders are more likely to be subject to minimum sentences if they are convicted. One such crime, risk of injury to a minor, encompasses a wide range of actions that can result in serious actions being taken against an alleged perpetrator. Because of the gravity of crimes involving children, the benefit of the doubt is often not given to those who are suspected of child endangerment, which is why it is essential to work with a skilled criminal defense attorney.
What Is Risk of Injury to a Minor?
The Connecticut statute that contains the law against endangering a child is a widely-encompassing one. According to the law, a person commits risk of injury to a minor when that person:
- Knowingly and willfully endangers the life or limb of a child under the age of 16;
- Places the child in a situation in which his or her health is likely to be injured or morals are likely to be impaired; or
- Has contact with the intimate parts of the child or subjects the child to contact with the intimate parts of another person.
For all intents and purposes, the statute was created to encompass nearly any behavior that could be considered dangerous to a child. Penalties are always felony charges; risk of injury to a minor is charged as a Class C felony, meaning an offender will face 1 to 10 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines if convicted. Child endangerment charges involving contact with intimate parts are charged as a Class B felony, which means offenders will face 1 to 20 years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines. If the child is under the age of 13, there is a mandatory minimum prison sentence of at least five years.
Endangerment Charges in Connection With Other Charges
Often, child endangerment charges are pursued alongside allegations of other crimes, but they can also exist on their own. In some situations, parents or guardians may be knowingly or unknowingly breaking the child endangerment laws. Situations in which child endangerment charges are common include:
- Domestic violence disputes in which children are present
- DUI or reckless driving with children in the vehicle
- Excessive use of drugs or alcohol while children are present
- Committing a crime while a child is present
- Leaving young children unattended at home
- Failing to maintain a clean and safe environment for a child
Consult With Our Hartford Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been accused of putting a child in danger, you need to immediately speak with a knowledgeable Hartford, CT child endangerment defense lawyer. Being convicted of child endangerment could mean expensive fines, a mandatory jail sentence, and a criminal record that will follow you around for the rest of your life. At the Woolf Law Firm, LLC, we can help you swiftly form a defense against any criminal charges you may be facing, including child endangerment charges that may or may not be connected to other charges. To schedule your free consultation, call our office today at 860-290-8690.