Endangering the Welfare of a Child: The Basics of New York Penal Law 260.10



    Parents and guardians have a responsibility to make sure their children are safe and taken care of at all times. Those parents or guardians who fail to provide such safety and security to their children can find themselves on the other side of the law, with accusations of endangering the welfare of a child. These accusations can lead to serious penalties if convicted, as well as a negative stigma, and even label them as dangerous or unfit.

    New York Penal Law 260.10

    The law on endangering the welfare of a child is not as clear cut as some other crimes in New York. New York Penal Code states you may be guilty of endangering the welfare of a child if:

    • You act in a way that is likely to cause injury (mentally, physically, or morally) to a child under the age of 16;
    • A parent or guardian fails to exercise reasonable diligence over their child, age 17 or younger, to prevent the child from becoming an “abused child,” “neglected child” or “person in need of supervision.”

    What Are Some Instances of Child Endangerment?

    Since the law on child endangerment in New York is not so clear cut, parents and guardians should exercise caution with their children. Even if a parent makes an honest mistake or has a moment of indiscretion, it can lead to serious consequences. Penalties for endangering the welfare of a child can be severe, and can leave a blemish on a permanent record.

    If you are charged with endangering the welfare of a child, you should seek legal help.  Assistance from an experienced criminal defense attorney can assess the facts of your case and help you understand your rights.

    If you are in need of experienced legal counsel in New York State, please contact Grunwald & Seman, P.C. and we would be happy to assist you.

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