What Can Be Considered Child Endangerment in Texas?
Accusations of child endangerment are easy to make and difficult to defend against. After all, in some cases whether a child is being endangered is somewhat subjective; discipline that one person finds reasonable may be seen as abusive to another. Texas law has specific definitions of what kind of behavior constitutes legal child endangerment or abuse, but it can be a long, uphill battle for a parent, neighbor, or teacher to clear themselves of charges.
If you have been accused or charged with a crime against a child, you may feel as though explaining your situation and trying to defend yourself is a reasonable approach. But the police, Child Protective Services, and prosecutors often have an agenda and are not so eager to see potential child abusers as innocent. Instead, learn as much as you can about how these accusations could impact you, and then contact a Texas criminal defense attorney with experience conducting a rigorous defense against child endangerment charges.
What is Considered Child Endangerment in Texas?
Any time a person exposes a child under 15 years old to a situation that could cause the child harm, the act may be considered child endangerment. Clearly, this is somewhat subject to interpretation; for example, it is illegal to leave a child without reasonable care. But while a parent may consider their child to be responsible enough to be safely left at home, a jury may see that as child endangerment.
Other examples of child endangerment are less fuzzy. For example, some clear-cut circumstances that are considered child endangerment under Texas law include:
- Recklessly driving with a child in the car
- Driving under the influence with a child in a car
- Allowing a child to ride in a car without a seatbelt or appropriate car seat
- Leaving a child less than seven years old in a car by themselves for more than five minutes
- Allowing a child to have access to drugs or alcohol
- Using Level 1 drugs in front of a child
- Allowing a child to access guns
In addition to acts that are committed and cause danger to a child, acts of commission may be considered negligence and therefore child endangerment.
What Are the Consequences for Child Endangerment in Texas?
The penalties for child endangerment depend on the seriousness of the crime, any past instances of child endangerment, and, in some cases, the outcome of the crime.
For example, getting arrested for driving drunk with a child passenger for the first time allows for penalties for up to two years in jail, fines up to $10,000, and 180 days of driver’s license suspension. However, if you crash the car and the child is injured or killed, or if you have prior convictions, you could face charges of a DWI with serious bodily injury, you could face up to 10 years in prison.
Call a Plano, TX Child Endangerment Defense Attorney
Charges of child endangerment are serious, and it can feel terrible to be on the receiving end of them. Instead of trying to reason with law enforcement, which may only make your situation worse, get help right away from an aggressive Collin County child endangerment defense attorney with The Crowder Law Firm, P.C.. We will fight to protect your parental rights, criminal history, and reputation with a strong defense. Call us today, schedule a free consultation, and start getting the help you need at 214-303-9600.