The Texas Penal Code, section 22, says that a person commits child endangerment or child abandonment if the following are true:
- The person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly, or with criminal intent, abandons a child under the age of 15 in any place or circumstances that expose the child to an unreasonable risk of harm, or
- Places the child in imminent danger of death, bodily injury, or physical or mental impairment
- Gave the child methamphetamines, manufactured methamphetamines in front of the child, possessed or used methamphetamines in front of the child
The child does not have to suffer any harm for the parent to be charged with child endangerment. The standard is the risk, whether a reasonable person would expect the child to be hurt or in danger, if placed or abandoned in the situation.
The crime is a second-degree felony if the actor abandoned the child with intent to return and is a third-degree felony if they didn’t intend to return. You can face two to twenty years in jail if convicted.
Getting charged with child endangerment opens you up to criminal charges and a CPS investigation that may result in the loss of your children. Attempting to answer CPS questions to keep your kids could result in saying things that incriminate you in the child endangerment investigation. If you are facing this scenario, it is paramount to work closely with a qualified child endangerment lawyer.
Child endangerment is sometimes charged hand-in-hand with other crimes, such as DWI crimes when the child is in the car or committing a crime while the child is with you.
Innocent parents can be charged with child endangerment. Sometimes, allegations get thrown around during divorce or custody claims. Sometimes, the parent is doing something relatively reasonable, like allowing an older child to walk to a nearby park to play. Lately, many CPS workers are quitting rather than participating in what they’ve called “politically motivated, unethical” investigations.
Nevertheless, you need a zealous defense lawyer as soon as you’re charged with this crime. The consequences of a conviction are both life-altering and devastating. We may be able to help you avoid a criminal record and maintain your relationship with your children.
Contact our office to get help today.
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