Second Degree Child Endangerment Charges
Morris County Criminal Defense Lawyers with offices in Morristown, NJ
Do you need a lawyer for a Child endangerment charge in Morris County? We can help.
The Morris County defense lawyers at the Tormey Law Firm recently succeeded with getting a case dismissed for another satisfied client. Our client was charged with child endangerment as the result of allegedly leaving his child alone in the car. He couldn’t believe that he was arrested and charged with a crime for running into a store to get some soup for his sick, sleeping child. But, before he knew it, he was arrested and charged with second degree child endangerment pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4(a)(2) and abandonment pursuant to N.J.S.A. 9:6-1.
On a second degree offense, our client was facing five (10) to ten (10) years in prison with a presumption of jail time even if he has no prior criminal history. Immediately after being released, our client made a smart decision: he called the defense attorneys at the Tormey Law Firm. We met with him, compiled mitigating information regarding the allegations, and then made contact with the Assistant Prosecutor to discuss the case. Then, before even having to step foot in a court room, we achieved the best possible outcome for our client – dismissal.
According to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4(a)(2), any person having a legal duty for the care of a child or who has assumed responsibility for the care of a child who causes the child harm that would make the child an abused or neglected child as defined in Title 9 is guilty of a crime of the second degree and any other person who engages in conduct or who causes harm as described in this paragraph to a child is guilty of a crime of the third degree. Moreover, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 9:6-1, abandonment of a child shall consist in any of the following acts by anyone having the custody or control of the child: (a) willfully forsaking a child; (b) failing to care for and keep the control and custody of a child so that the child shall be exposed to physical or moral risk without proper and sufficient protection; (c) failing to care for and keep the control and custody of a child so that the child shall be liable to be supported and maintained at the expense of the public, or by child caring societies or private persons not legally chargeable with its or their care, custody and control.
As one can see, the statutory language sets a high bar for child endangerment and abandonment. Fortunately for our client, we were able to utilize the underlying facts and mitigating information to our client’s advantage and reach a mutual agreement with the prosecutor that dismissal of our client’s case was the most appropriate outcome.
DCP&P Investigation vs. Criminal Charges
Many times in these cases, DCP&P investigates allegations of abuse or neglect and also the police department issues a criminal complaint. These are two separate and distinct matters handled in two totally different courts with two different outcomes and burdens of proof. DCP&P cases are handled in the family division before a family court judge who will make a finding if the child has been abused or neglected and may impose counseling, treatment, and even removal of the child in certain extreme circumstances.
In the criminal case, on the other hand, the matter is handled in the criminal division before a Judge and potentially a jury. These are usually felony matters (2nd, 3rd, and 4th degree felony charges) which are prosecuted by the Morris County Prosecutor’s office. The State must prove the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In this case, on a 2nd degree child endangerment charge, the client was facing the following penalties:
- 5-10 years in State prison with a presumption of jail time
- Up to 5 years probation
- $150,000 fine
- Permanent felony charge on the criminal record
Need Lawyer for Child Endangerment Charges in Morristown NJ
If you are charged with a criminal offense in Morris County, whether for allegations of weapons possession, drug possession or distribution, child endangerment, domestic violence, or any other crime, the experienced New Jersey defense lawyers at the Tormey Law Firm are available to discuss your case, develop a defense strategy, and work zealously to achieve the best possible outcome. Contact our Morristown office now for immediate assistance at 908-336-5008. The initial consultation is always provided free of charge.