Washington County Child Endangerment Lawyer
Although there is no specific offense called “child endangerment” under Maryland criminal law, law enforcement can pursue several other charges against individuals suspected of harming their children. Contesting these charges effectively could be crucial to avoiding serious criminal sanctions and preserving your custody and visitation rights with your child.
In this situation, help is available from a qualified Washington County child endangerment lawyer. By working with an aggressive defense attorney who knows what you are going through and how to effectively protect your rights, you could approach your case more proactively and give yourself a greater chance of securing a favorable outcome.
Possible Grounds for Prosecution over Child Endangerment
Although the specific charges related to child endangerment can vary depending on the circumstances, they generally stem from someone intentionally failing to provide for their child’s physical or mental needs. As per Maryland Code, Criminal Law §3-602.1, this action or failure to act must then create a substantial risk of harm to the child or actually result in the child being harmed to rise to the level of a criminal act.
Notably, state law explicitly states that a parent or guardian’s inability to provide safe conditions for their child due to “lack of financial resources or homelessness” does not constitute criminally actionable neglect. It is also worth emphasizing that this charge can not only fall on parents and legal guardians, but also anyone with a temporary responsibility as a child’s caregiver, such as a school teacher, a sports coach, a babysitter, or a court-appointed guardian.
Criminal charges for child neglect or abuse may arise from a report provided to the nearest Department of Social Services by a legally mandated reporter like a doctor or teacher. Additionally, they may come from an investigation into or be added to criminal charges for domestic violence. A Washington County child endangerment attorney could help navigate every stage of this kind of case regardless of how it comes about.
What Consequences Could a Conviction Have?
A person convicted of violating MD Code, CL §3-602.1 may face criminal sanctions of up to five years imprisonment and/or a maximum $5,000 fine. More serious abusive actions that qualify as sexual abuse or aggravated assault of a child may be prosecuted and punished upon conviction as felonies.
On top of that, any criminal conviction can have dire consequences on the accused individual’s personal life and occupational prospects. A conviction could even lead to family court proceedings that result in the loss of visitation and/or custody rights. A child endangerment attorney serving Washington County could provide more specific information about a particular charge’s repercussions during an initial consultation.
Get in Touch with a Washington County Child Endangerment Attorney Today
Criminal charges related to putting a child at risk of injury or psychological trauma are very serious matters in the state of Maryland. Even if your offense is classified as a misdemeanor, the short-term and long-term effects of a conviction could still fundamentally change your life in multiple ways.
Protecting your rights in a situation like this could be much easier with guidance from an experienced Washington County child endangerment lawyer. Call today to schedule a consultation.