Author FreeAdvice staff
Felony child endangerment is a child endangerment charge enhanced by aggravating circumstances. Child endangerment occurs when a person engages in conduct that places a child in immininet danger of death, bodily injury, or physical or mental impairment. This can be through an act or omission. Read on to learn more about felony child endangerment, the possible defensive strategies, and some of the consequences of a felony child endangerment charge.
What is Felony Child Endangerment?
For child endangerment to be elevated to a felony level offense, states will look to two different aggravating factors. The first aggravating factor is intent. Child endangerment charges factor in that people can make mistakes. If the conduct by a defendant was merely negligent or reckless, he would only face a misdemeanor level of punishment. If his conduct was willful or intentional, then the defendant could face felony endangerment charges.
The second aggravating factor is the degree of risk: the higher the risk, the higher the charge. California and Ohio for example, will increase the charge when the risk is likely to produce great bodily harm or death. Some states also increase a child endangerment charge when the child endures mental suffering. A risk of physical injury is not required. Some risks are presumed by statute. For example, if a defendant consumes controlled substances while in the presence of a child or drives with a child while intoxicated, some states will presume that the child was in some immediate danger of serious injury or death. Understanding the level of proof required for these elements is critical to developing an effective defensive theory.