What Does it Mean to Endanger the Welfare of a Child in New Jersey?

It is the responsibility of a parent or guardian to protect their child. This means caring for them and ensuring that they are never put in harm’s way. However, there are many cases in which parents make mistakes that can put their children in danger. In these situations, the individual may be charged with endangering the welfare of a child. This can result in serious consequences that can impact an individual for the rest of their life. When facing these situations, it is crucial to retain the services of an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney for assistance.

Child Endangerment Law in New Jersey

The law regarding child endangerment in New Jersey covers two types of behavior, described as follows: 

  • “Any person having a legal duty for the care of a child 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.”
  • “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, § 1 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.”

Actions that are considered endangering the welfare of the child in New Jersey can include the following:

  • Child pornography
  • Child molestation
  • Child abuse
  • Child neglect
  • DYFS hearings
  • Sexual assault
  • Statutory rape
  • Driving while intoxicated with a minor in the vehicle

What are the Consequences of Child Endangerment?

If a person is charged with endangering the welfare of a child in the third degree, they can be subject to a prison sentence for three to five years. If the charge is a second-degree offense, they can be sentenced between five and 10 years in state prison. 

For those convicted of sexually-related endangerment charges, Megan’s Law may also apply. This law establishes a notification process to provide law enforcement agencies and the public with information about sex offenders based on a risk assessment set by the court. 

Contact our Firm

If you or your family member needs an experienced criminal defense team to advocate on your behalf, the Rem Katcher Law Group, P.C. is here to help. Contact our firm today.