There are a number of state statutes that target abuse toward children. The state also provides criminal penalties for placing a child in a position where the risk of harm is unreasonably high. This offense—known as child endangerment—can occur whether or not harm actually comes to the minor in question.
If you are facing allegations of child endangerment, there is no time to waste when it comes to finding legal counsel. A skilled defense attorney could advise you of the strength of the state’s case. Before you consider a plea, it could benefit you to speak to a Junction City child endangerment lawyer.
What Constitutes Child Endangerment?
The offense of child endangerment is governed by Kansas Statute §21-5601. The offense occurs when a person knowingly places a minor child at unreasonable risk of endangering their health, life, or safety.
The central focus of this offense is not the actual harm to the child. Unlike child abuse offenses, endangerment is a crime of placing a child in a position where they could be at risk of harm. For these purposes, it makes no difference if the child ultimately sustains an injury.
Child endangerment is a crime of intent. That means in order to convict someone of this offense, the state must prove they were aware they were placing a minor child at risk of injury. If a person brings a child into a situation they do not realize is dangerous, this offense is not appropriate.
Aggravated Child Endangerment Charges
There is also an additional offense of aggravated child endangerment. This offense occurs when a person commits one of three different acts:
- Recklessly putting a child in danger,
- Placing a child in an environment where drugs or dangerous chemicals are present, or
- Placing a child in a place where methamphetamine is being distributed.
A seasoned child endangerment attorney in Junction City could explain the types of possible endangerment charges in more detail during an initial consultation.
Penalties for Child Endangerment
Simple child endangerment is treated as a class A person misdemeanor under state law. While misdemeanors are considered to carry less-severe penalties compared to a felony, any criminal conviction could have serious impacts on an individual’s life. A Junction City child endangerment attorney could provide insight into the consequences of a conviction.
A class A misdemeanor is the top level of misdemeanor offense under state law. It is considered one step below a felony, and a conviction could lead to a jail term of as much as one year. There is also a maximum fine of no more than $2,500. The court has the option to issue either penalty or a combination of the two.
Aggravated child endangerment is a felony offense. Unlike many states, there is not a firm sentencing range for felonies in Kansas. Instead, the state uses a sentencing grid that uses the severity of an offense and the extent of a defendant’s criminal history to determine a sentence. Aggravated child endangerment is a severity level 9 felony, which puts it at the lower end of the felony spectrum.
Contact a Junction City Child Endangerment Attorney Immediately
If you have been charged with child endangerment, you should never take on the task of defending yourself alone. The state will not hesitate to use its full weight against you, which makes acting without an attorney risky.
Let a Junction City child endangerment lawyer help you fight back against your criminal charges. Call today to get started.