Call Us 713-357-4190

When Your Future Is On The Line

Choosing The Right Attorney Can Make All The Difference

request consultation

request a consultation

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

*All Fields Required

Child Endangerment Laws: Federal vs. Texas Regulations

Posted in Criminal Defense on February 26, 2024

Accusations of child endangerment are easily made and challenging to defend against. Determining whether a child is genuinely at risk can be subjective, making defense even more difficult. If accused of endangering a child, explaining your situation may seem reasonable, but law enforcement can be skeptical.

Allegations of child endangerment are investigated and prosecuted according to Texas state and local laws. The best defense against these allegations is partnering with an experienced attorney who understands Texas’s complex legal system and the potential for federal implications. At Mary E. Conn & Associates, our team is committed to providing unwavering support to individuals facing child endangerment charges in Texas. Call today for a consultation and take the first step towards safeguarding your future.

What Is Considered Child Endangerment?

Child endangerment encompasses various behaviors that put a child’s health and safety at risk, ranging from inadequate supervision to severe threats. That includes child neglect, which involves leaving a child alone without proper care, and child abuse, which may appear as physical, mental, or emotional harm. The extent of penalties depends on the nature and extent of the abuse, with more severe cases leading to felony charges and potential prison sentences.

Child endangerment is defined under Texas Penal Code Section 22.041 as any act or omission that exposes a child under the age of 15 to a substantial risk of physical or mental harm. That may entail a broad spectrum of behaviors and situations, such as:

  • Physical Abuse: Inflicting physical harm, injury, or pain on a child.
  • Neglect: Not providing a child with basic needs such as food, clothing, shelter, or medical care.
  • Emotional Abuse: Subjecting a child to severe emotional distress or psychological abuse.
  • Exposing a Child to Dangerous Environments: Allowing a child access to drugs, firearms, or hazardous substances.
  • Endangerment Due to Carelessness: Leaving a child unsupervised in a situation where they could be harmed.

Texas laws regarding child endangerment aim to address situations where parents or caregivers fail to provide for a child’s basic needs, exposing them to harm. Child endangerment charges may also arise when a child is exposed to illegal drugs or subjected to risky situations, such as drunken or drugged driving by a parent.

Mandatory Reporting Laws

Mandatory reporting laws are outlined under Section 261.101 of the Texas Family Code, stating anyone who believes a child’s physical or mental health is at risk must submit a report to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

These laws have had a substantial impact on increasing awareness and eliminating the stigma associated with reporting child endangerment. Once a report is made, Texas law enforcement officials investigate the allegations immediately.

Penalties for Child Endangerment

Child endangerment convictions in Texas can result in different penalties based on whether the offense is classified as a misdemeanor or felony. Potential penalties may include:

  • Fines
  • Probation
  • Incarceration
  • Modification to parental rights
  • Counseling or rehabilitation programs

It’s essential for individuals facing charges related to child endangerment to seek legal representation promptly to protect their rights and establish a strong defense.

What Are Federal Laws on Crimes Against Children?

Except for rare situations, federal laws don’t apply to cases involving child endangerment. Crimes against children are handled at the state and local level. However, federal laws that support state regulations relating to child endangerment include the following:

Federal Funding for State Efforts

The federal government actively supports state efforts to prevent child endangerment through funding provided by the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act of 1974 (CAPTA). These funds contribute to the prevention, investigation, and enforcement of laws to protect children, along with family intervention, foster care, and adoption services. Federal initiatives strengthen the overall child welfare system in Texas to combat child abuse and neglect.

Statute of Limitations

Federal law, as outlined in 18 US Code Statute 3283, takes a robust stance on crimes against children. It states that prosecution against a person who has committed a crime involving the sexual or physical abuse or kidnapping of a child under the age of 18 can occur at any time during the child’s life or within ten years after the offense, whichever is longer.

Call Experienced Texas Child Endangerment Lawyers for Help

Facing charges related to child endangerment is a serious matter requiring skilled legal guidance. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s essential to consult with experienced child endangerment lawyers without delay.

Since 1985, the legal team at Mary E. Conn & Associates has advocated for clients across Texas who have faced all levels of criminal offenses. Our legal team works tirelessly to ensure our clients receive the best possible outcomes. Schedule a consultation with our child endangerment defense attorneys by calling (713) 357-4190 or completing a contact form.

CALL US TODAY 713-357-4190