New York Penal Law § 260.10: Endangering the welfare of a child

If you are responsible for caring for a child, the law expects that you will keep the child from any unreasonably dangerous situations. If you fail to do so, you could face a charge of endangering the welfare of a child. There are many different activities that when a child is involved or present, would amount to endangering the welfare of a child. For example, if you sexually assault a child, in addition to facing a charge of rape, you would also be charged with endangering the welfare of a child. It is important to note that child endangerment does not only involve activities that place a child in physical danger, but also activities that put the mental and moral well-being of a child in jeopardy.

Under New York Penal Law § 260.10 you could be charged with endangering the welfare of a child if:

  1. You knowingly act in a manner that is likely to harm the physical, mental or moral welfare of a child who is less than 17 years old,

  2. You authorize a child who is less than 17 years old to engage in an activity that involves a substantial risk of danger to the child's life or health,

  3. You are a parent, guardian or other person responsible for the care of a child who is less than 18 years old and you fail to make a reasonable effort to prevent the child from becoming abused, negligent, or becoming juvenile delinquent.

Example

16 year old Steven Scott was visited by 3 girls who were under the age of 16. Steven, his friends and the three girls, spent the evening drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana. Steven had sexual intercourse with one of the girls. Steven was charged with endangering the welfare of a child was as well as rape in the first degree and rape in the second degree. People v. Scott, 2011 NY Slip Op 3647 (N.Y., 2011)

Related Offenses
  1. Abandonment of a child: New York Penal Law § 260.00
  2. Endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person in the second degree: New York Penal Law § 260.24
  3. 3. Endangering the welfare of a vulnerable elderly person, or an competent or physically disabled person in the second degree: New York Penal Law § 260.32
Defenses

If you are charged with endangering the welfare of a child based on failure to provide medical treatment, you have a defense to the charge if your refusal to provide medical treatment is based on religious beliefs. In addition, under New York Penal Law § 260.11, if the basis for you being charged with endangering the welfare of a child is an accusation of sexual assault based on the testimony of a child who suffers from a mental incapacity or mental defect, then you cannot be prosecuted unless there is corroborating evidence.

Sentence

Endangering the welfare of a child is a class A misdemeanor. If you are convicted you could be sent to prison for up to 1 year or be placed on probation for 3 years.

New York Penal Law § 260.10: Endangering the welfare of a child

A person is guilty of endangering the welfare of a child when: 1. He knowingly acts in a manner likely to be injurious to the physical, mental or moral welfare of a child less than seventeen years old or directs or authorizes such child to engage in an occupation involving a substantial risk of danger to his life or health; or 2. Being a parent, guardian or other person legally charged with the care or custody of a child less than eighteen years old, he fails or refuses to exercise reasonable diligence in the control of such child to prevent him from becoming an "abused child," a "neglected child," a "juvenile delinquent" or a "person in need of supervision," as those terms are defined in articles ten, three and seven of the family court act.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If you are charged with endangering the welfare of a child it is important that you have experienced representation. If you are convicted you could face up to 1 year in jail. The staff at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been charged with felonies and misdemeanors. Contact us at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW (1-800-696-9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those accused of crimes in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.

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