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Middlesex County Child Endangerment Lawyer

New Jersey’s laws in Middlesex County and throughout the state are dedicated to protecting those who are most vulnerable. Perhaps nowhere is this more evident than in laws that are designed to punish child abusers.

It is understandable that people who are facing allegations of child endangerment may be confused and frightened. The available penalties for convictions under child endangerment laws are harsh and can have a permanent effect on a person’s legal rights to raise their children.

A Middlesex County child endangerment lawyer may be able to help. Domestic violence attorneys work to help those facing child abuse accusations better understand the law and form a defense designed to protect their rights in court.

Child Endangerment in the Criminal Code

New Jersey’s definition of child endangerment is provided by statute. New Jersey Statute 2C:24-4 states that it is a crime for any person with a legal duty to care for a child to commit child endangerment. This can include engaging in sexual conduct that causes damage to the morals of the child. As a second-degree offense, penalties for child endangerment can range from five to ten years in prison.

The same statute punishes all other, non-sexual activities that harm the welfare of a child. Any activity that can be considered abusing or neglecting a child is a third-degree offense. Here, the penalties can range from three to five years in prison.

Common examples of otherwise illegal activities that can result in child endangerment charges include: 

  • Statutory rape  
  • Assault
  • Molestation  
  • Kidnapping
  • Driving drunk with a child in the car

It is important to understand that these statutes only apply to people who have a legal duty to protect the child. Naturally, this extends to the parents or guardians of children. However, it can also apply to teachers, caretakers, and even babysitters.

What Activities Constitute Child Abuse in Middlesex County?

The second-degree offense version of child endangerment prohibits people from allowing children to be abused or neglected. These are specific legal terms with their own definitions. While it is impossible for a court to charge a person with “child abuse”, allegations of abuse can lead to child endangerment charges.

According to New Jersey Statute 9:6-1, child abuse includes:

  • Abandoning the child
  • Allowing the child to participate in hazardous employment
  • The habitual use of profanity in front of the child
  • Using excessive physical restraints or discipline on a child

Therefore, if a parent is accused of using overly harsh physical methods to discipline their child, this is child abuse. Since child abuse is a qualifying factor for child endangerment, the court may charge the parent with child endangerment as a second-degree offense.

New Jersey’s laws concerning child endangerment can be complex. A Middlesex County child endangerment lawyer could help people understand the law and how it applies to their situation.

Let a Middlesex County Child Endangerment Attorney Help

Allegations of child abuse, or child endangerment as it is known under New Jersey’s Criminal Code, are serious matters. Convictions under even the less serious version of this law can require a person to serve multiple years in prison. Additionally, these charges are potentially examples of domestic violence where the court may order the imposition of restrictive protective orders.

The stakes could not be higher. People facing allegations of child endangerment need to take aggressive steps to protect themselves. A Middlesex County child endangerment lawyer could provide this protection. Lawyers work with people to help them understand the law and develop a strategy designed to protect their rights in court. Contact an attorney today to see how they may be able to help you.