If you were arrested and charged with second degree or third degree endangering the welfare of a child, you need to know a few things. First, while you may have been arrested by a local police department like the one in Bloomfield, Livingston, Roseland, Verona, South Orange, Caldwell, or Newark, your case will be heard in Newark at the Essex County Superior Court. The second thing you probably want to know is that, in a high percentage of endangering cases, an individual not only faces jail and hefty fines, but also the potential for having to register under Megan’s law. Third, there is frequently a related action that is filed by DYFS to insure that any child is protected against additional acts of neglect. As you can see, an endangering the welfare of a child charge has the potential for becoming very complicated and is something for an experienced attorney. The lawyers at our firm, The Law Offices of Marshall, Bonus, Proetta & Oliver have a high level of skill defending endangering charges and most of the members on our team are also former prosecutors. We will take immediate action to place you in the best position to avoid a conviction. Our Essex County Criminal Defense Lawyers are available for consultation 24/7 at 973-710-1520.
Endangering the Welfare of a Child Lawyers Essex County
Second Degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child
If you have been charged with a second degree crime under N.J.S. 2C:24-4, you face an extremely high probability of being sentenced to a state prison term if you are convicted. There are two bases for an individual to be charged with the offense of second degree endangering the welfare of a child. Under 2c:24-4(a), you can be indicted or charged with a second degree crime if you engage in sexual conduct which impairs or debauches the morals of the child with whom you have a legal duty or responsibility for care. It is also a second degree offense under N.J.S. 2C:24-4(b) where a parent or other individual with a duty or responsibility for care of a child causes harm that constitutes abuse or neglect under N.J.S. 9:6-8.21.
When Is There A Legal Duty/Responsibility Under 2C:24-4? Parents, legal guardians, teachers, and all other individuals who have assumed custody or control of a child are deemed to have a legal duty and/or responsibility for care such that they may be charged with endangering.
Who Is a Child Under This Law? The term child is limited to those under the age of sixteen (16).
Impairing or Debauching Morals. New Jersey Courts have found that acts qualifying as sexual conduct that impairs or debauches includes hugging and kissing a child in a sexual provocative fashion, exposing oneself to a child, exposing the child to obscene publications, videos or other materials, committing a sexual act in the child’s presence, or instructing a child to perform a sexual act.
Penalties. An individual may be sentenced to a prison term of 5-10 years. The sentence may also include a fine of up to $150,000.
Third Degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child
Endangering is a third degree crime under 2C:24-4 where the defendant has no legal duty or responsibility for the child who is the victim. In other words, it is third degree offense to engage in sexual conduct that impairs or debauches there morals of a child with whom the accused has no special duty or relationship. The same holds true for cases involving abuse and/or neglect under N.J.S. 2C:24-4(b). It is third degree endangering the welfare of a child under that section of this law as well where there is no responsibility or legal duty. The jail exposure for a third degree violation is up to 5 years in prison. The maximum fine is $15,000.
If the offense involves N.J.S. 2C:24-4(a) and the a situation where the morals of a child were impaired or debauched, then the defendant is considered a registered sex offender. He or she must adhere to all reporting and monitoring requirements set forth under this law or face a violation for failure to register under Megan’s Law.
Roseland NJ Endangering the Welfare of a Child Attorneys
If you have been charged with endangering in accordance with N.J.S. 2C:24-4, you need to take the offense very seriously. If you are convicted, you will have a felony criminal record, face a state prison term, and may have to register under Megan’s law. Don’t make the potentially devastating mistake of taking an endangering the welfare of a child offense too lightly. Call the highly knowledgeable lawyers at our Newark Criminal Defense Law Firm for immediate assistance.