Endangering the Welfare of a Child

Maybe you left your kids home alone in Brooklyn or by themselves in a car outside the Westchester Mall in White Plains, New York for a few minutes. Alternatively, you left a knife or alcohol in arms reach of a child inside your Tribeca apartment in Manhattan. A mistake on your part? Maybe. Is it criminal? While not as blatant as pummeling a child with your belt or failing to feed your infant for days, all of this conduct has the potential to give rise to criminal liability. There is no way to avoid a simple truth. Regardless of the allegations that give rise to your arrest, Endangering the Welfare of a Child, New York Penal Law 260.10, is a devastating crime in every sense of the word. Should you find yourself accused of or arrested for Child Endangerment, invoke your rights and contact the best criminal lawyers who can protect you from the devastation associated with NY Penal Law 260.10.

Experience New York Child Endangerment attorneys often time have the arduous and emotionally difficult task of convincing a zealous prosecutor in Manhattan or Assistant District Attorney in Rockland County that an arrest for New York Penal Law 260.10 is merely a "classic overcharge" as opposed to scenarios where the evidence mandates law enforcement involvement. Unfortunately, for those arrested for Endangering the Welfare of a Child, it is not merely the potential sentence of up to one year in jail or the risk of a criminal record associated with this crime, but the scarlet letter and stigma of the accusation alone that is crippling. Couple the shame and embarrassment and a potential criminal conviction with an investigation by either the Administration for Children’s Services, ACS, in New York City, or Child Protective Services, CPS, in the Hudson Valley, your concerns are as grave as they are many.

New York Penal Law 260.10: Understanding the Elements of Child Endangerment

Unlike offenses that are fairly obvious and criminalize the possession of a forbidden object such as the misdemeanor offenses of New York Penal Law 265.01(1) (gravity knife possession) and New York Penal Law 220.03 (cocaine possession), New York Penal Law 260.10 is not always as obvious or clear. In fact, your alleged conduct need not be specifically direct at the child in question.

Generally, you are guilty of Endangering the Welfare of a Child anywhere in New York State from Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn to White Plains, Rockland and any other jurisdiction, when your conduct is as follows:

NY PL 260.10(1)

You are guilty of Endangering the Welfare of a Child pursuant to New York Penal Law 260.10(1) if you act knowingly in such a way that is likely to cause an injury to the mental state, person of (physical) or moral welfare of a child. This child must be sixteen years old or younger.

NY PL 260.10(2)

You are guilty of Endangering the Welfare of a Child pursuant to New York Penal Law 260.10(2) if you are a guardian, either a parent or have custody, of any child seventeen years old or younger and you fail to exercise reasonable diligence over that child to prevent him or her from becoming, among other things, an "abused child," "neglected child" or "person in need of supervision." These terms are defined in Article ten, three and seven of the Family Court Act.

Endangering the Welfare of a Child: Relevant Issues and Concerns

Whether you are teacher, banker, lawyer, doctor, stay at home mom or anything in between, the more common of the two charges addressed above is New York Penal Law 260.10(1). As noted, you may have maintained an exemplary life with your children, but after you ran into Bloomingdales or the grocery store and left your children unattended in a vehicle, you now find yourself in police custody upon your return.

Although only a New York City Criminal Court opinion, People v. Reyes is one of many cases to review when the issue involve in your Endangering the Welfare of a Child arrest stems from your lack of oversite. The decision takes into consideration the age of the child, time that child was left alone, why he or she was left alone and his or her maturity level. A review of this case is no substitute for the assistance of a New York criminal defense attorney familiar with the Endangering the Welfare of a Child statute and related cases, but a good place to start should the allegations against you involve leaving a child unattended.

Unfortunately, "good people" can easily find themselves wrapped up in allegations and arrests stemming from New York Penal Law 260.10 well beyond what is addressed here. Your actions can be significantly different than leaving a child unattended and may involve frightening allegations of violence, drugs or other conduct and contraband.

Whatever the allegations may be, do not compound an already terrible situation that can scar your name for life. Put yourself in the best place to challenge the accusations and consult with an experienced criminal attorney.

As valuable as the materials provided here may be, know that when facing a judge in criminal court, ACS or CPS investigators and the possibility of an Abuse and Neglect Proceeding in New York Family Court, there is no substitute for knowledge advocacy and experience.

Contact the New York Child Endangerment lawyers and former Manhattan prosecutors to identify and implement your best defense for any investigation or arrest in New York City or the Hudson Valley involving Endangering the Welfare of a Child.

Call the Endangering the Welfare of a Child lawyers and former Manhattan prosecutors at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today.

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