Child Endangerment | Falsely Accused & Want To Fight Back?

NJ Child Endangerment

New Jersey child endangerment charges are serious felonies. These crimes carry lengthy prison sentences & will leave you with a criminal record. You also run the risk of losing your children. 

It is very possible that you may be falsely accused. Oftentimes, these accusations arise in divorce actions or during custody battles. Your ex-spouse may leverage their cause by filing a false report. By law, the complaint must be investigated and it could take months and years to clear your name.

This article will help you learn about your rights & options.

What is the definition of an unfit parent in New Jersey?

If the conditions in your home are such that your child is at risk of mental, physical, or emotional danger you may be declared an unfit parent.

The following are some of the home conditions that will be considered:

  • A parent’s chemical dependency/substance abuse
  • Criminality in the household
  • A parent’s mental illness/Mental
  • Poor judgement (driving under the influence w/your child in the car)

What are some examples of child endangerment?

The most common examples of reckless endangerment of a child include:

  • Driving under the influence (alcohol/drugs) with your child in the car;
  • Leaving your child in your car during a freezing winter day while you go shopping;
  • Being involved in illegal activity (prostitution) while your child is in the room.
  • Actions or situations that endanger your child (drug dealing)

Child endangerment laws are often very broadly applied, and any number of acts can lead to an arrest.

Child Endangerment convictions stay on your record for years

If you plead guilty or are found guilty of a Child Endangerment, you face prison, fines, and you will get a criminal record.

Can I get it expunged?

It depends.

Your ability to get this type of conviction expunged depends on the type of felony on your record.

For example, if the conviction is for acts that involved sexual conduct with a minor, your chances of an expungement are slim.

If you were charged with child endangerment in NJ and ended up pleading guilty to an amended charge, your chances are better of getting an expungement.

Important Tip: 
Remain Silent

If you are under investigation for child endangerment in NJ, it is extremely important to remain silent.
If you’ve been arrested, you must also remain silent.
DO NOT answer police questions.
Everything you say can & will be used against you.
Ask for a lawyer & keep quiet!

Why did I get charged with domestic violence & child endangerment?

Sometimes if the state believes there was violence among family members in the home and a child was just present, you may be charged with both domestic violence & child endangerment.

It doesn’t matter that you did not physically touch your child to be charged with child endangerment.

If your child witnessed or heard violent acts or words, you will get a second charge for domestic violence.

Will DYFS become involve if I am charged with child endangerment?

DYFS, now called the Department of Child Protection and Permanency, or DCPP, may become involved with your family.

If they do, you should consult with us.

It is important to retain counsel to advise you and protect your rights if DFYS shows up knocking on your door.

Please visit our NJ DYFS page for more information.

We’ve also included a 16-page DYFS handbook to help you understand why they got involved.

Can I lose my children if convicted of child endangerment?

It is a strong possibility.

Before the State can take your child away and place him/her in a foster home, they have to prove that you are an unfit parent. (See above)

If you have a lengthy criminal record & your behavior was extreme enough to warrant it, the State will attempt to remove your parental rights.

What if what I was accused of was not done on purpose?

You may have a defense.

The law gives you a defense to child endangerment charges if your actions were not done on purpose.

This is called an Unwillful act.

Contact us if you have been charged with child endangerment so we can hear your side of the story.

Each case is different and the facts of your case may provide a defense to the charge.

All of our consultations are FREE & confidential.

I got a DWI with my kid in the car. Is this child endangerment?

In New Jersey, a DWI is a traffic ticket.

However, driving while intoxicated (alcohol/drugs) with your child is a separate criminal offense.

In the majority of cases, you will be charged with child endangerment.

In addition, there is a separate misdemeanor charge for driving while intoxicated with a child in your vehicle.

Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 39:4-50.15(b), you could face up to $1,000 in fines and up to six months in jail. 

What are the laws of Endangerment to a Child in NJ?

NJSA 2C:24-4

(1) Any person having a legal duty for the care of a child or who has assumed responsibility for the care of a child who engages in sexual conduct which would impair or debauch the morals of the child is guilty of a crime of the second degree. 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.

 

(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 R.S.9:6-1, R.S.9:6-3 and P.L.1974, c.119, s.1 (C.9:6-8.21) is guilty of a crime of the second degree. 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.

NJSA 2C:24-4 (b)
Definitions

(1) As used in this subsection:

“Child” means any person under 18 years of age.

“Distribute” means to sell, or to manufacture, give, provide, lend, trade, mail, deliver, publish, circulate, disseminate, present, exhibit, display, share, advertise, offer, or make available via the Internet or by any other means, whether for pecuniary gain or not. The term also includes an agreement or attempt to distribute.

“File-sharing program” means a computer program, application, software or operating system that allows the user of a computer on which such program, application, software or operating system is installed to designate files as available for searching by and copying to one or more other computers, to transmit such designated files directly to one or more other computers, and to request the transmission of such designated files directly from one or more other computers. The term “file-sharing program” includes but is not limited to a computer program, application or software that enables a computer user to participate in a peer-to-peer network.

“Internet” means the international computer network of both federal and non-federal interoperable packet switched data networks.

“Item depicting the sexual exploitation or abuse of a child” means a photograph, film, video, an electronic, electromagnetic or digital recording, an image stored or maintained in a computer program or file or in a portion of a file, or any other reproduction or reconstruction which depicts a child engaging in a prohibited sexual act or in the simulation of such an act.

“Peer-to-peer network” means a connection of computer systems through which files are shared directly between the systems on a network without the need of a central server.

What are prohibited sexual acts?

“Prohibited sexual act” means:

  • Sexual intercourse; or
  • Anal intercourse; or
  • Masturbation; or
  • Bestiality; or
  • Sadism; or
  • Masochism; or
  • Fellatio; or
  • Cunnilingus; or

Nudity, if depicted for the purpose of sexual stimulation or gratification of any person who may view such depiction; or

Any act of sexual penetration or sexual contact as defined in N.J.S.2C:14-1.

“Reproduction” means, but is not limited to, computer-generated images.

First-Degree Child Endangerment

A person commits a crime of the first-degree if he causes or permits a child to engage in a prohibited sexual act or in the simulation of such an act if the person knows, has reason to know or intends that the prohibited act may be photographed, filmed, reproduced, or reconstructed in any manner, including on the Internet, or may be part of an exhibition or performance.

Second-Degree Child Endangerment

A person commits a crime of the second-degree if he photographs or films a child in a prohibited sexual act or in the simulation of such an act or who uses any device, including a computer, to reproduce or reconstruct the image of a child in a prohibited sexual act or in the simulation of such an act.

A person commits a crime of the second-degree if, by any means, including but not limited to the Internet, he:

(i) knowingly distributes an item depicting the sexual exploitation or abuse of a child;

(ii) knowingly possesses an item depicting the sexual exploitation or abuse of a child with the intent to distribute that item; or

(iii) knowingly stores or maintains an item depicting the sexual exploitation or abuse of a child using a file-sharing program which is designated as available for searching by or copying to one or more other computers.

Third-Degree Child Endangerment

A person commits a crime of the third-degree if he knowingly possesses, knowingly views, or knowingly has under his control, through any means, including the Internet, an item depicting the sexual exploitation or abuse of a child.

  • Get Help With Your NJ Child Endangerment Case

Meet with us to discuss your case, we offer FREE consultations.

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How We Can Help

Regardless of the criminal charges you are facing, we are here to defend & protect you. Whether you are facing a restraining order, drug charge, theft charge, or aggravated assault charge, we are here to help you. Even a DWI case can really complicate your life.

If we can’t get your charges dismissed, we can either get them downgraded or place you in a diversionary program. The point is, our criminal defense lawyers will fight tirelessly to get you the best result possible. Take advantage of our free consultation to see how we can help.

Our Experience

You or a loved one have been arrested. Understandably, you are terrified & have a lot of questions. You’ve heard about plea bargains & probation, but the process is overwhelming. You want a local attorney near you to represent you.

Mr. Peyrouton is from Ridgewood & handles all types of criminal matters in New Jersey The New Jersey Law Journal recently published one of his articles on the subject of criminal law.

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How Do Your Free Consultations Work?

There are plenty of excellent Hackensack criminal lawyers in our area. Most, if not all of them, offer free, 20-minute, consultations. However, our free consultations do not have a time limit. You will never feel rushed.

The best way for us to help you is to patiently listen to your side of the story. Your version of events will serve as the basis for your legal defense. It is during these initial meetings that your memory of the event is fresh in your mind. Why we would rush you during such an important aspect of your case.

We understand that your choice of attorney could mean the difference between your freedom and spending years behind bars. 

When you hire an attorney, you are entering a long-term relationship. For this reason, it is important that you feel comfortable with the team of Hackensack criminal lawyers that will represent you.

Felony Degree

Prison & Fines

Examples

First-Degree

1st-degree felony charges in NJ are reserved for the most serious criminal offenses. Prison terms start at a minimum of 10 years in prison.

Second-Degree

2nd-degree felony charges carry 5-10 yrs in prison.
These charges can often be “downgraded” to 3rd or 4th-degree crimes.

Third-Degree

3rd-degree felony charges carry 3-5 years.
You have a good shot at PTI if you are charged with a 3rd-degree.

Fourth-Degree

4th-degree felony charges carry up to 18 months in jail. These cases can get “remanded” to a lower court. In this way, you will be out of “felony” danger.

A person extorts if he purposely threatens to:

a. Inflict bodily injury on or physically confine or restrain anyone or commit any other criminal offense;
b. Accuse anyone of an offense or cause charges of an offense to be instituted against any person;
c. Expose or publicize any secret or any asserted fact, whether true or false, tending to subject any person to hatred, contempt or ridicule, or to impair his credit or business repute;
d. Take or withhold action as an official, or cause an official to take or withhold action;
e. Bring about or continue a strike, boycott or other collective action, if the property is not demanded or received for the benefit of the group in whose interest the actor purports to act;
f. Testify or provide information or withhold testimony or information with respect to another’s legal claim or defense; or
g. Inflict any other harm which would not substantially benefit the actor but which is calculated to materially harm another person.

***It is an affirmative defense to prosecution based on paragraphs b, c, d or f that the property obtained was honestly claimed as restitution or indemnification for harm done in the circumstances or as lawful compensation for property or services.

Reasonable Articulable Suspicion

Reasonable suspicion is a “search” standard that applies in criminal law.

When a police officer conducts a warrantless search, and does not have probable cause to justify the search, the courts look to see if the police had
a “reasonable & articulable suspicion” for the search.

A mere “hunch” is not enough.

In other words, a police officer has to provide an acceptable explanation for the search.

United States Constitution

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

NJSA - 2C:43-7.2.
Eligibility for parole;
persons convicted of certain violent crimes

a. A court imposing a sentence of incarceration for a crime of the first or second degree enumerated in subsection d. of this section shall fix a minimum term of 85% of the sentence imposed, during which the defendant shall not be eligible for parole.


b. The minimum term required by subsection a. of this section shall be fixed as a part of every sentence of incarceration imposed upon every conviction of a crime enumerated in subsection d. of this section, whether the sentence of incarceration is determined pursuant to N.J.S.2C:43-6, N.J.S.2C:43-7, N.J.S.2C:11-3 or any other provision of law, and shall be calculated based upon the sentence of incarceration actually imposed. The provisions of subsection a. of this section shall not be construed or applied to reduce the time that must be served before eligibility for parole by an inmate sentenced to a mandatory minimum period of incarceration. Solely for the purpose of calculating the minimum term of parole ineligibility pursuant to subsection a. of this section, a sentence of life imprisonment shall be deemed to be 75 years.


c. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary and in addition to any other sentence imposed, a court imposing a minimum period of parole ineligibility of 85 percent of the sentence pursuant to this section shall also impose a five-year term of parole supervision if the defendant is being sentenced for a crime of the first degree, or a three-year term of parole supervision if the defendant is being sentenced for a crime of the second degree. The term of parole supervision shall commence upon the completion of the sentence of incarceration imposed by the court pursuant to subsection a. of this section unless the defendant is serving a sentence of incarceration for another crime at the time he completes the sentence of incarceration imposed pursuant to subsection a., in which case the term of parole supervision shall commence immediately upon the defendant’s release from incarceration. During the term of parole supervision the defendant shall remain in release status in the community in the legal custody of the Commissioner of the Department of Corrections and shall be supervised by the State Parole Board as if on parole and shall be subject to the provisions and conditions