Contact Our Jersey City Office To Speak To One Of Our Former Prosecutors & Highly Skilled Hudson County, NJ Endangering Welfare of a Child Attorneys
The Hudson County, New Jersey endangering the welfare of a child defense attorneys at the Law Office of Jonathan F. Marshall have the skill and experience to successfully represent your interest. It is pivotal that you select an accomplished attorney to defend a child abuse charge since a conviction at the Superior Court in Jersey City results in as much as ten (10) years in prison (up to 5 years for a third degree crime). You will also be forced to register under Megan’s Law if the endangering offense is of a sexual nature. Our team of criminal lawyers have over 150 years of experience representing defendants charged with sexual assault, criminal sexual contact, luring, aggravated sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child in towns like Bayonne, Jersey City, Union City, Hoboken, Secaucus and Weehawken. The majority of the litigators are former prosecutors, serving in key positions like Director of Major Crimes, Special Operations, Trial Team and Drugs Task Force. If you would like a free initial consultation with any one of our Jersey City endangering the welfare of a child attorneys, contact our office for a free consultation. An attorney is ready to take your call anytime 24/7 at (201) 309-0500.
Endangering the Welfare of a Child Lawyer in Jersey City, NJ: N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4
The New Jersey statute for the offense of endangering the welfare of a child is N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4. The discussion that follows is directed at child abuse and negligent charges under subsection (a) of this law. A separate page discusses endangering the welfare of a child for possession or distribution of child pornography in violation of subsection (b) of 2C:24-4. When an endangering offense arises out sexual misconduct, neglect or some other form of abuse in Secaucus, North Bergen, Union City, Bayonne, Jersey City or another Hudson County town, the law provides that:
2C:24-4. Endangering Welfare of Children.
a. (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..
What Does the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office Have To Establish In Order To Obtain a Conviction Under 2C:24-4a?
There are three (3) elements that the prosecutor must establish, beyond reasonable doubt, to secure a conviction for endangering the welfare of a child in Jersey City. In this regard, they must prove that the defendant:
- Had a legal duty or assumed responsibility to care for the child;
- Engaged in either sexual conduct that impaired or debauch the morals of the child, or conduct that rendered the child abused or neglected as defined by N.J.S.A. 9:6-1; and
- The conduct was knowing.
When Does Someone Have A Duty or Assume Responsibility So That They Are Exposed To An Endangering Charge?
Someone has a duty or assumes responsibility if they are a parent, adopted parent, foster parent, step parent, guardian or otherwise takes responsibility for supervision of a child (e.g. teacher, coach, employer, etc.). Individuals who cohabitate with a parent and regularly act as caretaker for a child also fall within the duty set forth in 2C:24-4a.
How Is Sexual Conduct That Impairs or Debauches the Morals of a Child Defined?
The term is interpreted rather broadly to capture just about any conduct of a sexually inappropriate nature involving a child. For example, hugging or caressing with arousal, exposing the child to obscene materials, engaging in sexual acts in the presence of the child or prompting the child to perform sex acts on their own body.
When Is A Child Considered Abused or Neglected?
A child is neglected when someone willfully fails to provide clothing, maintenance, required education, medical assistance and/or proper hygiene/cleaning. Abuse arises when someone abandons a child, employs a child in a position that exposes them to serious injury or death, uses repeated obscene, indecent or profane language, exercises unreasonable restraint of the child or subjects to the child to emotional neglect.
What are the penalties for endangering the welfare of a child in NJ?
A violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4 is a crime of the second degree where the accused has either a legal duty of care for the child or assumed responsibility. If the defendant has no legal duty of care for the child nor assumed responsibility, then a violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4 results in a third degree crime.
Someone convicted of second degree endangering the welfare of a child as a result of a plea or jury finding of guilt in Jersey City is exposed to five (5) to ten (10) years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000. On the other hand, a defendant convicted of a third degree endangering the welfare of a child felony carries up to five (5) years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
If the endangering stems from sexual conduct involving a child, a conviction also results in mandatory registration as a sex offender under Megan’s Law. There is no sex offender registration if the 2C:24-4 conviction stems from cruelty or neglect.
Is There The Possibility of Pretrial Intervention (“PTI”)?
A third degree endangering charge is eligible for diversion under Pretrial Intervention (“PTI”). PTI allows an individual to bypass the traditional methods of prosecution and be placed on probation for a period of time. Provided the defendant completes the probationary period without violating any of the terms (e.g. new arrests), the endangering the welfare of a child offense is dismissed.
Hudson County NJ Endangering the Welfare of a Child Attorneys
The attorneys at the Law Office of Jonathan F. Marshall have decades of experience, including significant time serving as prosecutors. This gives our lawyers a perspective that others simply do not possesses. If you or your loved one has been arrested for child abuse or neglect in Hudson County, including Harrison, Guttenberg, Weehawken or West New York, we encourage you to contact our Jersey City Office. An attorney will be more than happy to fully discuss the circumstances associated with your charges and to formulate a preliminary plan for protecting your liberty and future. Call (201) 309-0500 to speak to a lawyer anytime 24/7.