Somerset County Endangering the Welfare of a Child Defense Lawyer

Contact Our Somerville Law Firm To Speak To Our Former County Prosecutors & Certified Criminal Trial Attorneys

Whether it is the result of an arrest for DWI, conduct that resulted in unintended injuries to a minor or something more extreme, an endangering the welfare of a child charge is a serious matter. This offense is always an indictable felony that carries the possibility of a long state prison sentence and can even result in mandatory registration under Megan’s Law under certain circumstances. This certainly is not a violation to be dealt with at the Somerset County Superior Court in Somerville without the guidance of a well qualified criminal attorney. Our firm, The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, can provide skilled representation in any variety of alleged child abuse or neglect. We possess well over 100 years of collective experience handling charges like yours and many of us can provide unique insight as former prosecutors. The lawyers on our team defend individuals arrested and charged with endangering the welfare of a child throughout Somerset County and Hunterdon County including in Watchung, Branchburg, Montgomery, Flemington and Somerville. Call 908-722-1011 to speak to an attorney immediately or to schedule an appointment in our Bridgewater Office.

Accused of Sexual Conduct Constituting Endangering the Welfare of a Child

The New Jersey Endangering the Welfare of a Child Law prohibits several varieties of conduct with N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4(a)(1) outlining the first form of violation. In this regard, “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.” If the sexual conduct is committed by someone lacking a special relationship (e.g. relative, guardian, teacher, camp counselor, etc.) then the violation results in a third degree crime. There is no comprehensive list as to what constitutes sexually inappropriate conduct under 2C:24-4(a)(1). Case law has nevertheless interpreted this language to include hugging, rubbing, petting or kissing in a sexual manner. It also encompasses sexual acts performed in the presence of a child or the instructing of a minor to engage in masturbation.

Charged With Endangering Based On Alleged Child Abuse or Neglect

N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4(a)(2) sets forth the second variety of child endangerment. This type of offense arises when an actor engages in conduct that renders a minor an abused or neglected child. N.J.S.A. 9:6-1 defines abuse of a child to include:

  • disposing of custody of the child without proper legal authority;
  • employing or permitting employment in a position involving undue physical danger or threat to the morals of the child;
  • the habitual use of profane, indecent or obscene language;
  • engaging or permitting indecent, immoral or unlawful acts or deeds to be performed in the presence of the child that tend to debauch or endanger or degrade the morals of the child;
  • excessive physical restraint when the behavior of the child are not harmful to person or property;
  • willfully isolating the child from ordinary social contact under circumstances which indicate emotional or social deprivation;
  • abandoning the child;
  • cruelty in the form of unnecessarily severe corporal punishment, infliction unnecessary physical or mental pain, tormenting or exposing the child to unreasonable hardship or restraints;
  • neglect by failing to provide adequate food, clothing, medical care, education or shelter.

When abuse or neglect is committed by a person possessing a duty or assuming a responsibility for the care of the child, the violation is a second degree crime. A violation committed by someone without such a relationship is a third degree crime.

Jail, Fines & Other Penalties For Endangering the Welfare of a Child

Third degree endangering the welfare of a child is eligible for Pretrial Intervention although county probation and prosecutors often object to admission into the program. Absent diversion in this manner, an individual may be sentenced to up to five (5) years in prison and fined up to $15,000 if convicted of this third degree crime. A second degree endangering the welfare of a child carries a prison sentence of five (5) to ten (10) years and fine that can reach $150,000.

Megan’s Law Registration

There are instances where a child neglect or abuse conviction can result in mandatory registration as a sex offenders under Megan’s Law. This requirement is triggered whenever an individual is found guilty of endangering based on sexual conduct that “impairs or debauches the morals of the child”.  The depth of the registration and monitoring is contingent on whether the defendant is classified as a Tier I, II or III registrant. Irrespective, your presence and status as a registered sex offender must be reported to local police.

Flemington NJ Endangering the Welfare of a Child Attorney

Whether your arrest occurred in Bridgewater, North Plainfield, Franklin, Readington, Raritan Township or somewhere else in the region, failure to effectively defend your charge clearly has the potential to significant impact your future. An attorney at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall is prepared, however, to fight to insure that you have every opportunity to escape an adverse outcome. Our investigators and lawyers will undertake a thorough and comprehensive plan to achieve this goal and initial consultations to explore what we can do are free. Contacting our Somerville Criminal Office is something that you certainly should consider. Lawyers are available to immediately assist you at 908-722-1011.