What to Know About Child Endangerment Charges in Massachusetts

Child endangerment charges should be taken seriously. If you or a loved one is facing child endangerment charges, contact the attorneys at Murphy & Rudolf, LLP today to discuss the details of your case: (508) 570-3037 or fill out a contact form online.

Child Abuse vs. Child Endangerment Charges

Child endangerment charges describe wanton or reckless conduct on behalf of a parent or caregiver that creates substantial risk of serious bodily injury or abuse to a child. A deliberate failure to prevent or minimize risk of injury or abuse is also considered to be child endangerment and can be charged in the same way.

To help differentiate child endangerment from child abuse, we can make the following distinction: whereas child abuse implies that some injury occurred, child endangerment refers to situations in which injury or abuse has the potential to occur. Charges can be brought against a parent or caregiver even in the event that a child comes away having experienced no serious harm or injury.

Examples of criminal child endangerment include:

  • Leaving a child without appropriate adult supervision at home
  • Leaving a child under the supervision of a known abuser
  • Leaving a child unattended in unsafe public spaces
  • Leaving a child unattended in a motor vehicle
  • Failing to report known child abuse
  • Engaging in sexual activity in a child’s presence
  • Exposing a child to any aspect of drug use, manufacture, or distribution
  • Failing to look after a child due to being under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol with a child passenger
  • Ignoring safety requirements of a car or booster seat being used by a child
  • Deliberately preventing a child from taking a prescribed medicine

How Is Child Endangerment Prosecuted in Massachusetts?

You could face serious criminal charges for creating the conditions for a child to get hurt or for ignoring a known risk to a child’s safety. If the accused is the child’s parent, potential loss of parenting rights are among the many possible outcomes of a conviction.

As mentioned, a child does not necessarily have to experience harm for child endangerment charges to be prosecuted. The prosecution merely needs to prove that a child was placed in harm’s way with the potential for serious injury or death. Child endangerment can be charged on its own, or in conjunction with additional criminal acts such as operating under the influence or child abuse.

In child endangerment cases, the prosecution needs to prove:

  • That the accused knowingly or intentionally acted in a way that could cause (or failed to act in a way that would prevent) serious injury or death;
  • That the action put a child in a position that could result in serious injury or death;
  • That the accused had responsibility for the child when the action took place.

Criminal cases are prosecuted aggressively when a child’s safety is in question. If you are wondering whether you need to hire a lawyer, the answer is: absolutely.

Hiring a Strong Defense Attorney Right Away

As we’ve discussed, child endangerment is a serious offense with serious potential consequences. If you are facing child endangerment charges or are currently under investigation, it is important that you hire a local defense attorney as soon as possible. Our firm understands that mistakes are made, and we are here to support you.

Our team of attorneys at Rudolf Smith are experienced in dealing with child endangerment cases and can help you pursue the most favorable outcome for your case. To request a free consultation or to simply get in touch, call (508) 570-3037 or fill out an online contact form on our website.

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