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Child Endangerment Lawyer in Cincinnati, Ohio
Child endangerment is an emotionally charged and serious crime in Ohio. But regardless of what happened, you do not have to go through this experience alone.
A child endangerment conviction carries harsh penalties that will forever impact the rest of your life. Let the Cincinnati child endangerment lawyers at Luftman, Heck & Associates explain Ohio child endangerment law, the criminal penalties you’re facing, and help you find a way through it.
Contact us today at (513) 338-1890 to set up a free and confidential consultation.
Ohio Child Endangerment Laws
Child endangerment is defined under Ohio Revised Code 2919.22 as anyone who is a parent, guardian, or custodian of a minor who is under the age of 18 or is physically or mentally disabled and under the age of 21 that creates or poses a large risk to the health and safety of the child by violating their duty of care, protection, and support.
It is prohibited for anyone to engage in any of the following:
- Abuse of a child;
- Torture of a child;
- Administer any punishment that deliberately inflicts pain for discipline, physically restrains the child in a cruel way for an extended period, or creates a substantial risk of serious harm or danger to a child;
- Repeatedly administer unwarranted disciplinary measures on a child, where there is a considerable risk that such conduct will impair or delay a child’s mental development and health;
- Coerces, entices, uses, or permits a child to participate in a situation that is obscene or has sexual implications;
- Operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs while a child is present in the vehicle.
Evidence in Cincinnati Child Endangerment Cases
Several types of evidence could be used to prove or defend against child endangerment charges. Your child endangerment defense attorney will be tasked with not only introducing evidence that supports another version of how the incident or event occurred but evidence that can challenge or directly contradict the state’s case against you. This could establish the reasonable doubt needed to obtain an acquittal.
Some common evidence presented in child endangerment cases in Cincinnati include:
- The child’s statements
- Direct observations of the child
- Direct observations of the parent or their household
- The family’s statements
- Witness statements
- Medical records
- The child’s or parents’ behavior
- Photos of victim’s injuries
- School records
Child Endangerment Penalties in Cincinnati, Ohio
The penalties you will face for a child endangerment conviction depend on the severity of the facts and circumstances of your case.
Child Endangerment – First-Time Offenders
If you face your first child endangerment offense, you will most likely be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor. This entails possibly serving up to six months in jail, paying up to $1,000 in fines, and completing a maximum of 200 hours of community service.
Child Endangerment With Prior Convictions
If you have previously been convicted of any offense involving neglect, abandonment, or the abuse of a child, then you will be charged with a fourth-degree felony. This involves a minimum of six months and a maximum of 18 months in prison, in addition to fines up to $5,000.
Child Endangerment With Risk To The Health/Safety Of a Child
If you are convicted of child endangerment, and the facts of your case indicate that you created a significant risk to the health or safety of a child and there was actual, serious physical harm to the child, then you will be charged with a third-degree felony. A conviction entails a minimum of one year and a maximum of five years in prison, paying up to $10,000 in fines, and completing up to 200 hours of community service.
Child Endangerment Resulting In Serious Physical Harm
If you are convicted of child endangerment, and the facts of your case indicate that you abused a child and this also resulted in serious physical harm to the child, you will be charged with a second-degree felony. Penalties include a minimum of two years and up to eight years in prison, paying up to $15,000 in fines, and completing up to 200 community service hours.
Child Endangerment Conviction: Other Consequences
A child endangerment conviction in Ohio involves harsh and unforgiving consequences in addition to prison time and fines. Due to the severe nature of child endangerment offenses, child endangerment could be on your criminal background for the rest of your life.
Your reputation in your community will suffer, possibly with you being labeled as a dangerous and disturbed parent or guardian. You may also face difficulty keeping or finding a job, furthering your education, difficulty financially, obtaining loans, maintaining professional licensures, and keeping custody of your children.
Defending Against Child Endangerment Charges in Cincinnati
If you hope to avoid being found guilty of child endangerment accusations in Cincinnati, you may need to work with the prosecuting attorney. In limited circumstances, you may be eligible for a pretrial diversion program.
However, these are generally only available for first-time or nonviolent offenders. Many child endangerment charges may be considered violent offenses, so you should discuss this potential approach with your criminal defense attorney.
If a pretrial diversion or plea is not possible, you may need to bring your case to court. At trial, some of the different types of defenses you could argue include:
- Lack of evidence
- Mistake of fact
- Your disciplinary actions were reasonable
- False accusations
Child Endangerment FAQs
Child endangerment charges are one of the more serious offenses in Ohio. When you’re facing charges, you may have many unanswered questions. We’ve answered some of the most asked questions regarding child endangerment charges below. Additional questions can be discussed during your initial consultation.
Is Child Endangerment a Misdemeanor or Felony in Ohio?
Child endangerment charges can be considered a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances. For example, if you were accused of putting your child in a dangerous situation and you have not previously been convicted of a related offense, you could face misdemeanor child endangerment charges.
However, if your child suffered a serious physical injury, you could face felony charges. In the event of the death of a child, expect to face first-degree felony charges.
When Can You Be Charged with Child Endangerment in Cincinnati?
The legal custodian, guardian, or parents of a minor child or a child who is mentally or physically disabled and 21 years of age or younger can be charged with a child endangerment offense when there is sufficient evidence to believe that the defendant:
- Used physical restraint or punishment that put the child in physical danger
- Abused or tortured the child
- Used the child to produce material of a sexual nature
- Used disciplinary action that had the potential to cause severe physical or mental health delays
Will I Go to Jail if I am Convicted of Child Endangerment in Ohio?
You could go to jail if you are found guilty of child endangerment. With a skilled attorney advocating for your liberties, you may be able to present a compelling defense that introduces reasonable doubt in the mind of the jury.
You might also enter a pretrial diversion program or plea agreement with the state’s prosecutor, which would allow you to avoid jail time. You can find out what to expect from your defense and potential outcomes by contacting your child endangerment attorney.
Get Help From a Child Endangerment Lawyer in Cincinnati
A child endangerment charge can be an overwhelming and anxiety-inducing experience, but you do not have to go through it alone. Although every case is different, you must obtain an experienced, knowledgeable, and compassionate attorney who will fight vigorously for your legal rights and best interest as soon as possible. At Luftman, Heck & Associates, we know what you’re going through and what can help. Let us explain your options and defend you.
Contact LHA today at (513) 338-1890 or complete our online form. Initial consults are free, confidential, and we’re available 24/7.