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Endangering the Welfare of a Child

Endangering the Welfare of a Child in Indiana

Fort Wayne lawyer represents parents and others accused of child endangerment

A parent, guardian or other person charged with caring for a child has a legal responsibility to keep that child away from unreasonably dangerous or unhealthy situations. Failing to do so constitutes endangering the welfare of a child, which in Indiana is a criminal offense carrying potential prison time. If you’re accused of child endangerment, The Law Offices of Ryan E. Lackey is ready to defend you and protect your rights.

What does it mean to endanger the welfare of a child in Indiana?

In Indiana, child endangerment occurs if a parent, guardian or custodian of a child injures or subjects the child to possible physical or mental harm through any act or omission. Examples include neglecting the child’s physical needs, committing physical or sexual abuse, abusive language, depriving the child of food, shelter, clothing or medical care, keeping firearms within the child’s reach and driving intoxicated with the child in the car. If you are accused of endangering a child, you will likely be served with a protective order.

Possible penalties for endangering the welfare of a child in Indiana

Child endangerment is a felony. Even if no injury occurs, you face a possible sentence of six to 30 months in prison. If an injury does occur or you commit the crime in a place where drug dealing occurs, you might be sentenced to one to six years. Confining the child may result in a similar punishment in certain circumstances, such as when they’re confined in an area not intended for human habitation, or with the use of handcuffs, rope or other restraints, or they are deprived of necessary food, water or sanitary facilities. 

Causing serious bodily injury to a child may result in a prison term of three to 16 years, while causing death or catastrophic injury may result in 20 to 40 years. 

What if no injury occurred?

Some forms of child endangerment do not involve a physical injury. For instance, you may be guilty if you commit any act that puts the child in harm’s way, or if you abandon them, imprison them in a cruel manner or deprive them of an education. Nevertheless, the lack of an injury can dispel an allegation that you knowingly and intentionally endangered the child and can be a mitigating factor in sentencing. 

Reckless endangerment of children in Indiana

Anyone who has reason to believe that a child is a victim of abuse or neglect is required to report their suspicion to the Indiana Department of Child Services or law enforcement. If you fail to report it, you may be criminally charged with reckless endangerment, for which you could be jailed for up to 180 days or fined as much as $1,000. If you are charged with this crime or receive a protective order, I will defend you zealously.

Fort Wayne criminal attorney defends against charges

As your defense counsel, I will contest the charges and challenge the state’s evidence, which usually consists only of witness testimony. In some cases, I might even be able to reach a plea bargain to reduce the charges or get you a lesser sentence. If we do go to trial, I will cross-examine the prosecution’s witnesses and present countervailing evidence. I will protect your rights throughout the proceeding.

Contact a determined Indiana child endangerment defense attorney

If you are accused of child endangerment in Indiana, The Law Offices of Ryan E. Lackey in Fort Wayne is ready to help. For a free consultation, please contact the firm online or call us at 260-222-7364.

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  • Fort Wayne Office
    1519 Spy Run Ave.
    Fort Wayne, Indiana 46805
    Phone: 260-437-0197
    Fax: 260-745-4703