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What Actions Can Lead to Child Endangerment Charges in Texas?

Posted on in Criminal Defense

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.

Child endangerment includes actions which place a child under 15 years of age in danger of physical or mental impairment, bodily injury, or death. The Texas Penal Code specifically prohibits adults from manufacturing, possessing, or consuming methamphetamine and controlled substances in penalty group 1 while in the presence of a child. Texas law also specifically prohibits leaving a child under 7 years old alone in a vehicle for more than five minutes. Other examples of behavior that often result in child endangerment charges include:

  • Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs with a child in the vehicle

  • Allowing a child to take illegal drugs

  • Engaging in sexual activities in the presence of a child

  • Allowing a child to be in reach of unsecured firearms

  • Hiring a childcare provider with a known history of child sex abuse

  • Using unreasonable physical force to punish a child that results in bodily injury

Contact a Fort Worth Criminal Defense Lawyer

A child endangerment or child abandonment conviction can cost you your freedom in Texas. If you or a loved one has been charged with abandoning or endangering a child, you need an attorney who will protect your rights and build a strong defense against these charges. Attorney Darlina Crowder has obtained hundreds of acquittals for criminal defendants facing state and federal charges. To schedule a confidential, free case review with a skilled Collin County criminal defense attorney from The Crowder Law Firm, P.C., call our office today at 214-303-9600.



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