Endangering the welfare of a child charges in New Jersey are incredibly serious. These cases involved child abuse or neglect, and the types of situations contemplated by this law are varied. This charge involves sexual acts against a "child" that could negatively affect a child by a person responsible for that child. New Jersey courts and prosecutors take these charges very seriously, and in some cases can be overzealous in the prosecution of these types of cases.
No matter the circumstances you face, an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney can defend your endangering the welfare of children charges and protect your constitutional rights. You do not have to face this difficult process alone.
New Jersey Endangering the Welfare of a Child Defense Attorney
With many years of experience working in different roles in the New Jersey justice system, Joseph Lento is a uniquely qualified New Jersey criminal defense attorney with a comprehensive knowledge of how the criminal justice system works, from start to finish.
If you have been charged with endangering the welfare of a child in New Jersey and need a comprehensive, customized defense, contact the attorneys at Lento Law Firm. Joseph Lento built his practice on the ideals of customer service and justice and he will fight for your rights and freedom. Call (215) 535-5353 today to schedule your free consultation and discover what Joseph Lento can do to clear your name.
Endangering the Welfare of a Child Charges in New Jersey
A person can commit this offense, written at N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4, in a number of ways.
"(1) Any person having a legal duty for the care of a child or who has assumed responsibility for the care of a child who engages in sexual conduct which would impair or debauch the morals of the child is guilty of a crime of the second degree. Any other person who engages in conduct or who causes harm as described in this paragraph to a child is guilty of a crime of the third degree.
(2) Any person having a legal duty for the care of a child or who has assumed responsibility for the care of a child who causes the child harm that would make the child an abused or neglected child as defined in 9:6-1, 9:6-3, and section 1 of P.L. 1974, c.119 (C. 9:6-8.21 ) is guilty of a crime of the second degree. Any other person who engages in conduct or who causes harm as described in this paragraph to a child is guilty of a crime of the third degree."
How the Crime Can Be Committed
The paragraphs quoted above can be violated in a large number of ways, including, but not limited to:
- child molestation
- child abuse
- creating, viewing, or disseminating child pornography
- DYFS hearings
- portray a child in a sexually suggestive manner
- statutory rape
- sexual assault of a child
- driving while intoxicated with a minor in the car
The many variations associated with this crime mean that you need an experienced attorney who can understand what the prosecutor will try to prove in your particular case. The best way to defend your case is with an attorney who can identify the risks you face and knows how to create a unique defense to the charges against you.
Penalties for Endangering the Welfare of a Child Charge in New Jersey
Under most circumstances, endangering the welfare of a child is a second-degree felony in the State of New Jersey. If convicted of the second-degree felony, you face the following possible penalties:
- Between 5 up to a maximum of 10 years in prison
- a maximum possible fine of $150,000
In other circumstances, the charge may instead be a first-degree felony charge, in which case you face the following possible penalties:
- Between 10 to 20 years in prison
- a fine of up to $200,000
In yet other circumstances, the charge may instead by a third-degree felony charge, in which case you face the following possible penalties:
- Between 3 and 5 years in prions
- a maximum possible fine of up to $15,000
Depending on the nature of your charge, you may also be required to register as a sex offender in the State of New Jersey. To know which possible penalties you face, it is important to consult with an experienced New Jersey defense lawyer who can identify the specific facts of your case and apply them to the law.
How to Defend Your Case
If you face endangering the welfare of a child charges in New Jersey, there are defenses and strategies that can be employed to defend your case and protect your constitutional rights. A uniquely tailored defense is the best tool to protect yourself from years in prison, high fines, and the possibility of sex offender registration.
Certain defenses that may include, but are not limited to:
Filing a Suppression Motion
If any of the evidence against you was collected by law enforcement illegally, or in violation of either the United States or New Jersey constitutions, you can file a motion to exclude that evidence from trial. This can devastate the prosecutor's case, and result in a reduction of your charges or even outright dismissal.
Present Reasonable Doubt
A New Jersey prosecutor is required to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, all of the elements of the crime charged. If you present reasonable doubt to the jury, they will not be able to find you guilty.
No Legal Duty
If you did not have a legal duty to care for the child, or you did not assume responsibility for the child, you may be not guilty of this particular charge. This can reduce the potential penalties you face, and protect you from many years in prison.
Consult a New Jersey Endangering the Welfare of a Child Defense Attorney
If you or someone you care about faces a charge of endangering the welfare of a child in New Jersey, an experienced New Jersey defense attorney can fight for your rights. Joseph D. Lento has the years of experience necessary to protect your rights.
Call (888) 535-3686 or contact us online today to schedule a consultation of your case.