Bethesda Child Endangerment Lawyer
Being accused of putting your child in danger of physical or psychological harm can be a uniquely unsettling experience, especially if you have never faced criminal allegations before. That said, it is absolutely vital that you approach a situation like this as calmly and proactively as possible. The steps you take to build a strong case defense could have a massive impact on your life and your family members’ lives.
Representation from a qualified defense attorney experienced with handling cases of this sensitive nature could be key to effectively enforcing your rights and preserving your best interests. From interacting with law enforcement to defending you during criminal court proceedings, a seasoned Bethesda child endangerment lawyer could be an irreplaceable ally from the start to the finish of your case.
How State Law Defines “Child Endangerment”
As a Bethesda attorney could further explain, the Maryland Code does not list “child endangerment” as a distinct criminal offense using those exact terms. Instead, someone who allegedly endangers their child’s physical, mental, or moral well-being may face charges for one or more other offenses, each of which covers a specific form of conduct that might put a child at risk of harm. For example, Maryland Code, Criminal Law § 3-601 covers established patterns of abusive conduct as well as single acts of violence that cause serious or fatal physical injury to a minor. Abuse of a child, as defined by this law, is a felony punishable by maximum terms of anywhere from 25 years to life in prison, depending on the circumstances.
Alternatively, someone who allegedly fails to provide necessary resources or assistance to their child to meet their basic needs may face charges for “neglect of a child” under MD Code, Crim. Law § 3-602.1. This is a misdemeanor offense for which a convicted person may face a maximum fine of $5,000 and/or a maximum five-year term of imprisonment. Engaging in any crime of violence in the presence of a minor child at least two years old can also add up to five years of imprisonment to any sentence attached to the original crime of violence, as per MD Code, Crim. Law § 3-601.1.
Contesting Child Endangerment Allegations
Intent does not typically factor into whether abusive or neglectful behavior constitutes a criminal act of child endangerment in Maryland, although there are some exceptions for certain situations. For example, someone who cannot provide for their child’s physical or psychological needs because of homelessness or a lack of financial resources cannot be convicted of child neglect as defined under MD Code, Crim. Law § 3-602.1.
Instead, successful defense strategies often revolve around establishing that the defendant did not actually put their child at risk of suffering harm or that the behavior did not meet all the criteria necessary for a conviction. A skilled attorney in Bethesda could offer further guidance about possible defense strategies and other options for resolving child endangerment cases.
Let a Bethesda Child Endangerment Attorney Help Protect Your Rights
Law enforcement authorities and court officials in Maryland take criminal endangerment of minor children seriously. If you are not thoroughly prepared to contest a charge like this with support from seasoned legal representation, your odds of achieving a favorable final case result will likely be slim.
Speaking with a Bethesda child endangerment lawyer should be your top priority the moment you learn you are being investigated or charged with this sort of offense. Call today to schedule a private meeting.