Gilbert Child Endangerment Lawyer

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Gilbert Child Endangerment Attorney

Keeping children safe as a parent, teacher, or caregiver can be a challenging but rewarding job. Unfortunately, a poor decision on your part, whether intentional or not, could land you in court on endangerment charges.

If you are facing accusations of endangering a child, it is crucial to take swift legal action to protect your rights. A Gilbert child endangerment lawyer can review your situation and help you develop a robust defense.

CHILD ENDANGERMENT CHARGES IN GILBERT

Endangerment in Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-1201 refers to recklessly putting someone at substantial risk of grave harm or death. To prove that someone endangered a child, a prosecutor must prove that:

  • The child was unjustly subjected to physical or emotional harm the caregiver allowed or caused
  • A caregiver knowingly or was criminally negligent in allowing a child to suffer unreasonably
  • The harm inflicted was not associated with disciplining the child
  • For a felony charge, the caregiver’s actions must cause severe injuries or death or be likely to cause severe injuries or death

There are defenses that an attorney can use to fight against the prosecution’s allegations of child endangerment. For instance, the Arizona Compilation of School Discipline Laws and Regulations allows governing school boards to impose corporal punishment such as paddling and spanking when warranted. Sometimes, because of family dynamics, false claims of endangerment are lodged. Other defenses may also be available, depending on the specific facts of a case. A Gilbert child endangerment attorney will review charges on a case-by-case basis to plan an individual’s defense.

EXAMPLES OF CHILD ENDANGERMENT IN GILBERT

There are a number of behaviors that could fall under the state’s definition of child endangerment, many being accidental in nature.

LEAVING A CHILD IN A HOT CAR

Because of the soaring summer temperatures in Gilbert, child endangerment charges can commonly be lodged when a minor is left in a locked automobile either accidentally, because the caregiver is distracted, or intentionally, to run errands or make a quick stop. The state also has the Arizona Hot Car Law, which allows good Samaritans to break into cars to rescue children. Even if a child is rescued unharmed, the caregiver could be charged with misdemeanor child endangerment.

LEAVING A CHILD HOME ALONE

State law does not give guidance regarding the age at which children are mature enough to be unsupervised. Consequently, parents or guardians who leave children home alone could face endangerment accusations from an upset relative or concerned neighbor. A defense attorney can fight back against this charge by establishing that the child in question was mature enough to be left alone.

PUNISHMENT BEYOND WHAT IS REASONABLE

Although corporal punishment is legal in Gilbert, causing serious physical injury can still be classified as child endangerment. Severe bruising, broken bones, and other signs of child abuse can be prosecuted.

POTENTIAL PENALTIES FOR A CHILD ENDANGERMENT CONVICTION

Child endangerment can be a misdemeanor or felony charge, depending on the facts of the case. Class 3 misdemeanor child endangerment charges are the least severe cases, while Class 6 felony charges are the most serious. An experienced lawyer in Gilbert can help an individual to understand the nature of the specific child endangerment charges they are facing.

MISDEMEANOR CASES

Endangerment of a child is a Class 1 misdemeanor. This offense is punishable by up to six months in jail, and a $2500 fine for first-time offenders. Probation is available.

FELONY CASES

A Class 6 felony is the most serious charge for endangerment. These cases involve substantial risk of imminent death. The range for a Class 6 felony is four months in jail to two years in prison for first-time offenders. With one prior offense, the sentence increases to between nine months and to two years and nine months in jail. With two or more priors, the sentence increases to between two years and three months and five years and nine months incarcerated.

A GILBERT CHILD ENDANGERMENT ATTORNEY CAN HELP

Child endangerment charges are not taken lightly by Arizona courts. Although child endangerment is usually charged as a misdemeanor, some of its elements are subjective and require a skilled advocate to argue in your favor.

If you have been charged with putting a child in harm’s way, a Gilbert child endangerment lawyer can help. Schedule a free consultation with a dedicated member of our legal team today to get started.

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