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Fort Worth criminal defense attorney child endangerment

The public’s opinion of drugs and alcohol has changed dramatically throughout our nation’s history. Alcohol was common in many American homes until the 18th Amendment banned the consumption of liquor, beer, and wine in 1919. Then, the 21st Amendment repealed the ban on the manufacture and consumption of alcohol. Today, marijuana is a subject of great controversy across the United States. Some consider it a dangerous “gateway drug” while others believe that the substance offers significant medicinal benefits. Although the laws surrounding drugs and alcohol are constantly changing, one certainty has remained consistent: Drugs and alcohol should not be consumed by children. Allowing a child to consume drugs or alcohol or consuming an illicit substance in the presence of a child can result in child endangerment charges.

Criminal Charges Can Result from Exposing a Child to Danger

Children are unable to adequately provide for their own safety. Consequently, they are dependent on adults to protect them from harm. When an adult fails to protect a child or allows a child to be in a dangerous situation, he or she may be charged with the criminal offense of child endangerment. One Texas woman was recently arrested and charged with child endangerment after a video surfaced of the woman allowing her 3-year-old brother to smoke marijuana. The video, which was shared on Facebook and quickly shared with Texas police, shows the boy’s 18-year-old sister and another individual actively encouraging the toddler to inhale. Child Protective Services is currently investigating the situation. It is unknown if further criminal charges will be brought against the young boy’s parents. If the sister is convicted of child endangerment, she faces up to two years of imprisonment in a Texas state jail facility.

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Fort Worth criminal defense attorney child endangerment

The state of Texas has a number of different laws that are designed to protect children from harm. Violating these laws can result in significant consequences including punitive action and irreparable damage to the offender’s personal reputation. Child endangerment falls under the offense of “abandoning or endangering a child.” Depending on the circumstances of the alleged offense, a person convicted of child endangerment may face six months in jail to 20 years in prison. It is sometimes difficult to know exactly what actions constitute child endangerment. Some adults end up facing criminal charges and were not even aware that their behavior was illegal.

Endangering a Child

An adult can face charges for abandoning or endangering a child if he or she leaves a child somewhere without adequate supervision and care or in circumstances that expose the child to danger. Texas courts use the “reasonable person standard” when determining whether or not a parent’s actions constitute child abandonment or endangerment. This means that the defendant’s actions are compared to what the average adult would have done in similar circumstances with a child of similar age and ability. For example, most adults would not leave a toddler home alone without supervision for fear that the child would hurt himself or herself. Therefore, this action would likely be considered child abandonment.

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Tarrant County child endangerment defense attorney

When it comes to children, the terms “neglect” and “abandonment” are often used together; however, these are two separate legal issues. Child neglect is a term used in the Texas Family Code to describe a situation in which a child is left unattended in an unsafe environment. Abandoning a child is defined in Texas Penal Code as not providing “reasonable and necessary care for the child” and leaving the child in a situation that most reasonable adults would not allow. If you have been charged with child abandonment in Texas, the penalties can be severe. Speaking with a criminal defense attorney experienced in handling crimes against children can help clear your name and avoid a criminal record.

Being Accused of Child Neglect

According to Texas law, parents are responsible for providing children with necessities like food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and appropriate supervision. The Texas Family Code identifies several acts that are considered neglect. These include but are not limited to:

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