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Protect Your Rights with a New Jersey Child Endangerment Lawyer

New Jersey DYFS Lawyer Handling Child Endangerment Cases

New Jersey’s endangering the welfare of a child  statute imposes severe penalties for parents, guardians , caregivers and others who are accused of various forms of abuse and neglect. While the law is, understandably, designed to protect children as much as possible, its broad scope means some people face charges that are unfounded, and false accusations can lead to life-changing criminal prosecutions as well. The statute also is often relied upon to remove children from the parent’s or guardian’s custody.

If you have been charged with endangering the welfare of a child, contact a New Jersey DYFS* lawyer at our firm and we will fight to make sure you face as few consequences as possible. We are sensitive to the unique and challenging aspects of facing child-related criminal charges, and we have the skill and experience required to help protect your future. Do not let false accusations or aggressive prosecution negatively affect your life – put our criminal defense team on your side so that we can fight for the outcome you deserve.

Facing Criminal Charges for Endangering the Welfare of a Child in New Jersey

New Jersey’s child endangerment statute outlines six primary types of offenses that range in severity from crimes of the first degree to crimes of the third degree:

Sexual Conduct

  • “[Engaging] in sexual conductwhich would impair or debauch the morals of the child,” is a second-degree crime when committed by a person, “having a legal duty for the care of a child or who has assumed responsibility for the care of a child.” In all other circumstances, it is a third-degree crime.  Here the sexual conduct does not necessarily require touching the child but includes other acts such as showing the child a pornographic image or even engaging in sexual conversation with the child as long as the conduct would impair or debauch the morals of the child.  Child is defined as anyone under the age of 18.
  • “[Permitting] a child to engage in a prohibited sexual actor in the simulation of such an act,” is a first-degree crime if the defendant intends, knows or has reason to know that the act will be filmed, photographed or distributed, including via the Internet.

Child Abuse or Neglect

  • Causing harm to a child that, “would make the child an abused or neglectedchild,” as defined in various other sections of the New Jersey Statutes is either a second or third-degree crime, depending upon the defendant’s relationship to the child. In this charge there are do not have to be allegations of sexual conduct.  Charges can arise from physical assault on the child, excessive corporal punishment, providing drugs or alcohol to the child,  failure to provide the basic necessities for the child to name a few examples.

Child Pornography

  • “[Photographing] or film[ing] a child in a prohibited sexual actor in the simulation of such an act or who us[ing] 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,” is a second-degree crime.
  • Knowingly distributing, possessing with the intent to distribute, or storing with any file-sharing program “an item depicting the sexual exploitation or abuseof a child,” ranges from a first to a third-degree crime
  • Knowingly possessing or viewing “an item depicting the sexual exploitation or abuseof a child,” ranges from a first to a third-degree crime.

In addition to the standard penalties for first, second and third-degree crimes (with those convicted of a second degree crime facing 5-10 years of imprisonment and those convicted of third degree crimes facing between 3 to 5 years), the child endangerment statute includes steep fines, certain mandatory minimum sentences and provides for extended terms of imprisonment under certain circumstances. Individuals charged with sex-related and child-related offenses in New Jersey can face a variety of other consequences as well such as sex offender registration under Megan’s Law, Parole Supervision for Life and possible civil commitment.

Schedule an Initial Consultation With a New Jersey Child Endangerment Defense Lawyer

For more information about defending yourself against charges of endangering the welfare of a child in New Jersey, contact the law offices of Helmer, Conley and Kasselman. To schedule a confidential initial consultation with an experienced New Jersey DYFS* lawyer, call 1-877-435-6371 or request an appointment online now.

* DYFS or the Division of Youth and Family Services has changed their name to Department of Child Protection & Permanency (DCP&P)

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