Bergen County Child Endangerment Lawyers
Endangering the welfare of a child is a serious felony charge in New Jersey that can be graded as a second degree, third degree, or fourth degree crime depending on the nature of the alleged offense. Since these offenses can take many forms, it is important to know what type of conduct you have been accused of when charged with violating N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4. Unbeknownst to many, a person who has been accused of an internet sex crime such as possession of child pornography or distribution of child pornography can be charged with child endangerment. These charges are common when the material being distributed involves an underage child. It is also possible for a person to be charged with endangering the welfare of a child when they are accused of child abuse or molestation. Even drunk driving with a minor in your vehicle can lead to charges for DUI and endangering the welfare of a child in Bergen County and throughout NJ. And the punishments for these charges can be severe. On a second degree offense, the defendant is facing 5-10 years in prison. On a third degree crime, the defendant is facing 3-5 years is prison. Even fourth degree charges for child endangerment carry up to 18 months of incarceration.
Endangering the Welfare of a Child Defense Attorneys in Hackensack, NJ
The Tormey Law Firm in Hackensack, New Jersey is a criminal defense team with lawyers who understand how accusations are made and how to defend against these allegations. Founding attorney Travis J. Tormey has established a strong reputation throughout the state, in part through his impressive work defending individuals against a wide variety of charges, including criminal sexual contact, statutory rape, and failure to register as a sex offender.
For example, Mr. Tormey was recently successful in having a wrongfully accused sex offender exonerated in the Ocean County Superior Court after more than a decade. He has also been successful numerous times in having individuals removed from Megan’s Law registration requirements. In addition, during his time at the United States Attorney’s Office, Mr. Tormey worked with the sex crimes unit on federal prosecutions. Due to his impressive experience, Mr. Tormey is considered an authority in this area and has been featured in the Asbury Park Press as a legal resource on sex crimes and Megan’s Law in New Jersey.
At The Tormey Law Firm, regularly representing clients in towns such as Hackensack, Lyndhurst, and Elmwood Park and concentrating solely on criminal defense provides us with a unique and powerful edge, which we use to benefit our clients every day. With offices conveniently located in the heart of Bergen County, one of our attorneys is always available immediately to provide you with a free consultation. Contact us at (201)-330-4979 to learn more about the charges and penalties you may be facing. Understanding the nature of the charges against you is truly the first step to achieving a positive outcome.
Endangering the Welfare of a Child in New Jersey: N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4
The New Jersey statute which governs endangering the welfare of a child is N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4. The statute provides, in pertinent part:
§ 2C:24-4. Endangering the Welfare of a Child
a. Any person having a legal duty for the care of a child or who has assumed responsibility for the care of a child who engages in sexual conduct which would impair or debauch the morals of the child, or who causes the child harm that would make the child an abused or neglected child is guilty of a crime of the second degree. Any other person who engages in conduct or who causes harm (as described in the statute) to a child under the age of 16 is guilty of a crime of the third degree.
A person commits a crime of the second degree if he causes or permits a child to engage in a prohibited sexual act or in the simulation of such an act if the person knows, has reason to know or intends that the prohibited act may be photographed, filmed, reproduced, or reconstructed in any manner, including on the Internet, or may be part of an exhibition or performance. If the person is a parent, guardian or other person legally charged with the care or custody of the child, the personal is guilty of a crime of the first degree.
A person who photographs or films a child in a prohibited sexual act or in the simulation of such an act or who uses any device, including a computer, to reproduce or reconstruct the image of a child in a prohibited sexual act or in the simulation of such an act is guilty of a crime of the second degree.
A person who knowingly receives for the purpose of selling or who knowingly sells, procures, manufactures, gives, provides, lends, trades, mails, delivers, transfers, publishes, distributes, circulates, disseminates, presents, exhibits, advertises, offers or agrees to offer, through any means, including the Internet, any photograph, film, videotape, computer program or file, video game or any other reproduction or reconstruction which depicts a child engaging in a prohibited sexual act or in the simulation of such an act, is guilty of a crime of the second degree.
A person who knowingly possess or knowingly views any photograph, film, videotape, computer program or file, video game or any other reproduction or reconstruction which depicts a child engaging in a prohibited sexual act or in the simulation of such an act, including on the Internet, is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.
Penalties for Endangering the Welfare of a Child in New Jersey
Endangering the welfare of a child is a serious criminal offense in New Jersey. Depending on the circumstances, the charge will be graded as a second, third, or fourth degree crime. This is a crucial distinction because of the penalties involved and the likelihood of probationary treatment versus a state prison sentence. For example, a crime of the second degree is punishable by a term of imprisonment of between 5 and 10 years in New Jersey State Prison (with a presumption of incarceration), a crime of the third degree is punishable by a term of imprisonment of between 3 and 5 years in New Jersey State Prison (with a presumption of non-incarceration for first-time offenders), and a crime of the fourth degree is punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to 18 months in New Jersey State Prison. Moreover, endangering charges can lead to Megan’s Law registration and/or community supervision for life.
In addition to criminal charges for endangering the welfare of a child, sometimes a complaint is filed in family court by the Division of Protection and Permanency (DCP&P) for child abuse or neglect.
Contact an Experienced Bergen County Child Endangerment Defense Lawyer for Help
If you or a loved one has been charged with endangering the welfare of a child or another sex-related offense in New Jersey, contact our Hackensack office location anytime at (201)-330-4979 for a free consultation.