Colonial Heights Child Endangerment Lawyer

Parents and other legal guardians have a duty to keep children safe when under their care. When a child is put in a situation where their wellbeing is at risk, that could lead to a child endangerment charge. If you have been accused of risking injury to a minor, it would be wise to call a Colonial Heights child endangerment lawyer. A seasoned domestic issues attorney could help you make your case against these charges and retain your guardianship over a child.

Defining Child Endangerment

Child endangerment is defined under Virginia law as a willful act or omission in the care of a child that is considered gross, wanton, and with such disregard for human life that the behavior presents a risk of injury to the child. Injuries resulting from a disregard for human life can include, but are not limited to: disfigurement, broken bones, severe burns, laceration, mutilation, maiming, forced ingestion of dangerous substances, and life-threatening internal injuries.

Child endangerment can be alleged in any situation where a child is put in serious danger, such as driving while intoxicated with a child in the vehicle or leaving a young child alone in a house unsupervised. Placing children in situations where they must fend for themselves is often viewed as behavior that constitutes risk of injury to a minor. DUI charges that involve minors can include additional charges of abuse and neglect, as well as enhanced DUI penalties.

What Happens After a Child Endangerment Arrest in Colonial Heights?

After an individual is arrested for child endangerment in Colonial Heights, they might have to post bond because it is a Class 6 felony. A first offender could be released either on a personal recognizance bond or a low bond. They might also have to report to court for an arraignment. They should contact a local child endangerment attorney in this time.

A protective order will likely be issued on behalf of the child by the Department of Social Services and the child could be removed from the individual’s custody. The child may be returned to them once the case is resolved but they will be placed in the custody of another guardian or caregiver for the immediate future. The individual in question could be the entity that determines whether the child will be placed in the custody of Social Services of a family member.

Misdemeanor vs. Felony

If an individual allegedly places a minor at risk of injury, they could be charged with a misdemeanor is they are charged under a separate code section. However, if the individual is also charged with any sort of child abuse or neglect, they could receive a felony charge. Penalties associated with child endangerment carry a maximum sentence of five years in jail and a fine of up to $2,500 if there are no additional charges.

Cases in Colonial Heights involving risk of injury to a minor are regularly heard by a juvenile or domestic relations court judge. If the judge finds probable cause that the incident did, in fact, occur or that the accused individual might have put the child at risk, the case will then be heard by a circuit court judge or a jury, depending on what the Commonwealth or the accused requests. A Colonial Heights lawyer who works cases involving risk of injury to a minor could represent the accused in any of these courtrooms.

What Happens if the Endangerment Involves Sexual Conduct?

If a child endangerment case involves sexual conduct, it could be charged as a sexual conduct case, such as rape, object penetration, or sodomy, as opposed to a risk of injury case. The accused individual will not be charged with the Class 6 felony for putting a child in danger and will instead face a more serious charge specific to the alleged sexual misconduct.

The penalties can range from 12 months in jail to 20 to 40 years in jail, depending on the nature of the charge. An individual could be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor if they contributed to the delinquency of a minor, or they could be charged with a Class 2, Class 3, or Class 4 felony if it involved sodomy or rape.

Retain the Services of a Colonial Heights Child Endangerment Attorney

There are situations that could be construed as child endangerment when they should not be – and you could suffer legal consequences as a result. It is important to work with a Colonial Heights child endangerment lawyer as soon as possible so your rights are protected. Place a call now if you need someone to advocate for you in a court of law.

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