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New York Child Endangerment Defense Lawyer

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Facing child endangerment charges in New York can be an overwhelming experience. The uncertainty of the future, the potential impact on your family, and the fear of navigating a complex legal system can leave you feeling helpless and lost.

But you don’t have to face this alone. At the Law Offices of Mehdi Essmidi P.L.L.C., we understand your anxiety. As a former prosecutor, attorney Mehdi Essmidi is uniquely positioned to provide an aggressive defense against your charges. If you’re facing child endangerment charges in New York, don’t hesitate to reach out for a free consultation.

What Constitutes Child Endangerment Under New York Penal Law § 260.10?

Understanding the specifics of your charges is crucial in preparing a strong criminal defense. Under New York Penal Law § 260.10, child neglect, also known as endangering the welfare of children, is defined as threatening a child’s physical, mental, or moral welfare. This broad definition encompasses a wide range of behaviors and actions that could potentially harm a child’s well-being.

Child endangering is not limited to physical harm. It can also include exposing a child under the age of 18 to situations that could cause emotional distress or moral harm.

It’s important to note that not only parents or guardians can be charged with child endangerment. Any person responsible for the care of children, even temporarily, can face endangerment charges if they knowingly put children at risk.

Common Examples of Child Endangerment Charges

Child endangerment can take many forms, each carrying serious consequences under New York law. Here are some common examples:

Drug Use in the Presence of a Child

Engaging in drug use around children is considered a form of child endangerment. This includes using, manufacturing, or distributing illegal substances. Exposure to such environments can lead to physical harm and emotional distress to children, and the courts take these charges very seriously.

Leaving a Child Unattended at Home

Leaving children alone at home, especially for extended periods or under dangerous conditions, can result in child abuse charges. The child’s maturity level, the length of time they were left alone, and the overall safety of the environment are all factors considered by the court.

Leaving a Child Unattended in a Car

Even a brief period of leaving a child alone in a car can lead to child abuse charges. Cars can quickly become dangerously hot or cold, posing substantial risks to a child’s health and safety, indicating abuse and neglect.

Exposing a Child to Domestic Violence

Even if children are not physically harmed, parents who expose them to domestic violence can be charged with child endangerment in New York City. Witnessing such violence can have severe emotional and psychological impacts on a child.

Exposing a Child to Inappropriate Sexual Behavior

Any exposure of children to inappropriate sexual behavior or material can be considered endangering their welfare. This includes direct involvement or indirect exposure, such as access to explicit content.

Failing to Prevent Access to Dangerous Weapons

If you fail to prevent access to dangerous weapons such as firearms or knives by children under your care, you could face child endangerment charges. It’s your legal duty as an adult responsible for a child to ensure their environment is safe.

Penalties for a Child Endangerment Conviction

New York Penal law treats child abandonment as a serious offense with significant penalties. Understanding potential penalties is crucial as you prepare your defense.

If convicted, your sentence can vary depending on the severity of the endangerment, whether it’s a first-time offense or a repeat offense, and other circumstances surrounding the case. Beyond jail time, a conviction can also result in fines and probation.

Regular check-ins with a probation officer, mandatory counseling, parenting classes, and restrictions on contact with the child involved can be determined. A conviction can lead to loss of custody or visitation rights for parents.

Child Protective Services (CPS) Involvement

Child Protective Services (CPS) is a state agency responsible for ensuring the safety and well-being of children.

If you’re facing child abuse charges, it’s likely that New York State CPS will be involved in your case. CPS investigations can be intimidating and stressful. Their involvement often adds another layer of complexity to an already overwhelming situation.

Mandatory Reporting of Suspected Child Abuse

New York law requires that certain professionals report suspected child abuse and neglect, including allegations that parents are not providing medical care, welfare, or even adequate food for their children.

While this law is designed to protect children from harm, it can sometimes lead to false or exaggerated allegations. A misinterpretation by a teacher or social worker, for example, could result in an unnecessary investigation and charges against you.

Possible Child Endangerment Defenses

There are numerous defenses that an experienced child abuse defense lawyer can employ to weaken the prosecution’s case. Here are some potential defenses that may be applicable in these types of cases:

Lack of Evidence: The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you intentionally placed a child’s physical, mental, or moral welfare in danger. If they fail to provide sufficient evidence supporting their claims, the charges against you may be dismissed.

False Accusations: Unfortunately, false accusations occur, often in long custody battles or personal disputes. If you believe you have been falsely accused, your defense might be able to use that angle in court.

Actions Were Not Knowingly Harmful: To prove that the welfare of a child was at risk, the prosecution must determine that you knowingly put the child in a vulnerable position. If we could demonstrate that your actions were unintentional or that you were unaware they could cause harm, this could form a strong defense.

Actions Were Justified: In certain situations, what might seem like endangering could actually be justified under the circumstances. For instance, leaving a teenager home alone because of an emergency might not constitute endangerment.

Violation of Your Rights: If your rights were violated during the investigation or arrest process, such as through an illegal search or seizure, any evidence obtained in this manner could be deemed inadmissible in court.

Contact Us for a Free Consultation

If you’ve been charged with child endangerment, finding an experienced attorney to represent you is critical. We believe that everyone deserves a fair defense and we’re here to help.

When you choose The Law Offices of Mehdi Essmidi P.L.L.C., you can rest assured that you’ll work directly with Mehdi instead of having your case handed off to a junior lawyer or paralegal to ensure you get the best possible defense.

Don’t let child endangerment charges dictate your future. Contact us today for a free consultation.


Is child endangerment a felony in New York?

Child endangerment in New York is typically classified as a misdemeanor, not a felony. However, the circumstances surrounding the case can potentially elevate the charges. If endangerment results in serious physical harm to a child or if it’s part of a pattern of abusive behavior, the accused person could face additional felony charges.

Will I go to jail if I’m convicted of child endangerment in New York?

A conviction for child neglect can result in jail time. The actual sentence can vary depending on the severity of the endangerment, whether it’s a first-time offense or a repeat offense, and other circumstances surrounding the case.

How do I get a child endangerment charge dropped in New York?

This would involve proving a lack of evidence, exposing false accusations, showing that your actions were not knowingly harmful or were justified under the circumstances, or revealing violations of your rights during the investigation or arrest process.