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Legal Defenses for Child Endangerment Charges

Posted in Criminal Defense on February 13, 2024

In a world where caregivers bear the immense responsibility of ensuring a child’s safety, the threat of child endangerment charges can be unsettling. Parents, legal guardians, and childcare providers must maneuver through the intricate web of laws dictating their every move for the well-being of the young ones in their care. Texas takes a stern approach to crimes involving children, aggressively prosecuting offenses like child endangerment.

Facing charges of child endangerment in Texas is not just a legal battle. It’s a journey through severe consequences that could reshape your future. If you find yourself in this situation, having an experienced criminal defense lawyer is vital. Contact Mary E. Conn & Associates and let us be your advocates, ready to fight for your rights and listen to your story when it seems no one else will. Give us a call as soon as possible.

What Is Considered Child Endangerment Under Texas Law?

Child endangerment encompasses various scenarios and seemingly minor actions. For example, forgetting to check whether your child wears a seat belt or leaving them unattended in a car for an extended period may qualify.

Texas Penal Code Section 22.041 defines child endangerment as exposing a child under 15 years old to imminent danger of bodily injury, death, or physical or mental impairment. Whether a child is endangered intentionally, knowingly, or negligently, a caregiver can still face child endangerment charges.  

The state presumes child endangerment in specific situations, including:

  • Involvement in manufacturing, possessing, or consuming methamphetamine in the presence of a child
  • Discovery of methamphetamine in a child’s body
  • Unlawful possession and consumption of a Penalty Group 1 drug

Guilt may also arise from scenarios like receiving a DWI with a child in care, engaging in sexual activity in a child’s view, or leaving a child within reach of an unsecured firearm.

What Are the Potential Penalties for a Child Endangerment Conviction in Texas?

The penalties associated with a child endangerment conviction in Texas vary depending on factors such as the gravity of the endangerment and the individual’s criminal history.

Potential criminal penalties include:

  • Criminal Charges: Child endangerment may result in criminal charges, including child abuse, child neglect, or child endangerment.
  • Fines: Those found guilty may be obligated to pay fines, the amount of which depends on the specifics of the case.
  • Probation: Certain offenders might be placed on probation as part of their sentence.
  • Imprisonment: In more severe cases, individuals could face incarceration, ranging from months to years.
  • Termination of Parental Rights: Child endangerment convictions may lead to the loss of parental rights, potentially resulting in the child being placed in foster care or adopted.
  • Counseling or Rehabilitation Programs: Courts may mandate attendance in parenting classes, anger management courses, or substance abuse treatment programs as part of sentencing.

Individuals facing child endangerment charges in Texas have the right to legal representation. The legal team at Mary E. Conn & Associates is dedicated to safeguarding your rights during this challenging time.

What Defenses May Be Used Against Charges for Child Endangerment?

Exploring possible defenses in child endangerment cases is crucial in gaining insight into your situation. Legal defenses against allegations of child endangerment include:

  • Alibi: Providing evidence that challenges the accused’s presence at the alleged scene of endangerment.
  • Coercion: Exploring whether external forces or coercion influenced the actions, indicating a lack of free will.
  • Duress: Arguing that the accused engaged in endangering behavior due to threats or coercion, making it involuntary.
  • Justification: Demonstrating that the actions were justified under the circumstances.
  • Lack of Intent: Arguing that there was no intentional endangerment and the situation occurred without malicious intent.
  • Lack of Knowledge: Establishing that the accused lacked knowledge of the potential harm their actions could cause.
  • Mistake of Fact: Asserting that the actions resulted from an honest mistake or misunderstanding rather than a deliberate act.

It’s important to note that not all defenses apply to all situations. For that reason, consulting with an experienced child endangerment defense attorney is essential to assess the relevance of these defenses to your specific case. 

Talk to an Experienced Child Endangerment Defense Lawyer Today

Crimes involving children are punished harshly in Texas, and a conviction may have lifelong negative impacts. If you are facing child endangerment charges, contact the child endangerment defense attorneys at Mary E. Conn & Associates immediately to discover how our team can defend against these charges.

Since 1985, our lawyers at Mary E. Conn & Associates have leveraged their knowledge and experience to our clients’ advantage. To speak with an experienced child endangerment defense attorney, schedule a consultation by completing a contact form or call (713) 357-4190.

CALL US TODAY 713-357-4190