Any criminal charge involving children will often result in high stress and amplified emotion. A charge of child endangerment is no exception.
Child endangerment is an extremely serious charge in Ohio, and penalties can be severe. Thus, in most cases, it is absolutely necessary to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help defend you against one of the most difficult charges you can face.
If you are facing a child endangerment charge in or near Dayton, OH, consider consulting with a defense attorney to discuss your case and determine how best to move forward.
Ohio Child Endangerment Laws: An Overview
Ohio defines child endangerment in Ohio Revised Code § 2929.22. Under this statute, it is a violation to “create a substantial risk to the health or safety of the child, by violating a duty of care, protection, or support.” Additionally, a “child,” for purposes of Ohio child endangerment laws, includes anyone under the age of 18, or a mentally or physically handicapped person who is under the age of 21.
This definition of child endangerment is broad. However, the Ohio Revised Code does provide some additional definitions.
Specifically, the following will constitute child endangerment in Ohio:
- Abuse of the child
- Torture or cruel abuse of the child
- Prolonged corporal punishment or other physical disciplinary measures that are “excessive under the circumstances”
- Repeated disciplinary measures that, if continued, would seriously impair the child’s mental health or development
- Enticing, coercing, or permitting a child to participate in any act that is obscene or sexual in nature
While this list is not exclusive, it is important to understand the types of activities that may constitute child endangerment in Ohio.
It is also important to note that under this section, parents are not the only parties that can be found guilty of child endangerment.
Under Ohio law, any of the following can be charged with child endangerment:
- Persons having custody or control of a child
- Persons in loco parentis of a child
For clarity, “in loco parentis” means any adult who is the caretaker of a child. This includes relatives, foster parents, or stepparents who have the rights, duties, and responsibilities of a parent.
Penalties for Child Endangerment in Ohio
Placing a child’s life at risk is a serious offense. Thus, the penalties for child endangerment charges in Ohio are severe.
A first offense of child endangerment will result in a first-degree misdemeanor. Consequences for such a conviction include up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. However, if this is not your first conviction, the penalties can be even more severe.
Depending on whether you have prior offenses and whether the child sustained severe injuries, a conviction for child endangerment can be elevated as high as a second-degree felony. Under Ohio law, a felony of the second degree can result in up to 8 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney Today
A charge for child endangerment has the potential to impact your rights as a caretaker for a child. Additionally, a charge can impact your reputation and lead to harsh criminal penalties. We understand how difficult it can feel to face a charge of child endangerment in Ohio. However, know that you are not alone.
Our team of criminal defense lawyers has over 50 years of collective experience providing high-quality legal counsel to clients in need. Contact us online or by phone at (937) 222-1515 for a free consultation to see how we can help you.