Endangering a Child
Under Texas Family Code § 261.101, any person having cause to believe that a child’s physical or mental health or welfare has been adversely affected by abuse or neglect by any person must immediately make a report to Texas Child Protective Services (CPS) with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS). Parents or other legal custodians may be charged with the crime of abandoning or endangering a child.
When any parent is accused of abandoning or endangering a child, it is important for them to still refrain from saying anything to authorities until they have legal representation. Officers investigating these alleged offenses are usually working to try and obtain statements that can help prosecutors secure convictions, and you will want to be sure that you do not say anything that possibly leads to later consequences.
Were you or your loved one arrested for allegedly abandoning or endangering a child in the greater Dallas area? You are going to want to contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.
The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy will work to possibly get your criminal charges reduced or dismissed. You can have us answer all of your legal questions when you call (940) 222-8004 or contact us online to take advantage of a free consultation.
Texas Penal Code § 22.041(a) establishes that the word abandon is defined as “to leave a child in any place without providing reasonable and necessary care for the child, under circumstances under which no reasonable, similarly situated adult would leave a child of that age and ability.” Under Texas Penal Code § 22.041(b), a person commits abandoning or endangering a child if, having custody, care, or control of a child younger than 15 years, they intentionally abandon the child in any place under circumstances that expose the child to an unreasonable risk of harm.
This offense is a state jail felony when the alleged offender abandoned the child with intent to return for the child, but it is a third-degree felony when the alleged offender abandoned the child without intent to return for the child. When an alleged offender abandons the child under circumstances that a reasonable person would believe would place the child in imminent danger of death, bodily injury, or physical or mental impairment, it is a second-degree felony.
Texas Penal Code § 22.041(c) further states that a person commits abandoning or endangering a child if they intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence, by act or omission, engage in conduct that places a child younger than 15 years in imminent danger of death, bodily injury, or physical or mental impairment. Under Texas Penal Code § 22.041(c-1), it is presumed that a person engaged in conduct that places a child in imminent danger of death, bodily injury, or physical or mental impairment if:
A violation of Texas Penal Code § 22.041(c) is also a state jail felony.
The statutory maximum sentence for a conviction relating to an abandoning or endangering a child offense will depend on how the crime was classified. In general, convictions are punishable as follows:
An intent to return for the child is often the driving factor in determining many possible prison sentences. When you are accused of not having any intent to return for a child, you will want to be sure you have a lawyer who can argue that you did actually intend to return for the child and provide a reasonable explanation for your incident.
Texas Penal Code § 22.041(f) establishes that it is a defense to prosecution for a violation of Texas Penal Code § 22.041(c) that the act or omission enables the child to practice for or participate in an organized athletic event and that appropriate safety equipment and procedures are employed in the event. The state law is also designed not to apply to parents who leave infants (children under 60 days of age) under Texas Family Code § 262.302.
Many parents find themselves accused of this crime after leaving children unattended for brief periods of time, and children may engage in risky behavior during these unattended moments. A criminal defense attorney will often be able to explain that the child was not actually abandoned or endangered and the parents were still in a position to exercise proper oversight when needed.
DFPS | CPS — CPD is the DFPS program designed to protect children and to act in the children’s best interest by investigating reports of child abuse and neglect. CPS has a responsibility to keep children with their families when possible but its primary objective is to prevent further harm to a child. Visit this website to find child safety tips, learn more about state laws and CPS policies, and find answers to frequently asked questions. CPS is broken into 11 regions, and Dallas falls within the Arlington region which has more than 40 office locations. Dallas offices include:
1050 N. Westmoreland Rd., Ste. 200
Dallas, Texas 75211
1111 W. Ledbetter, Ste. 150
Dallas, Texas 75224
2600 Lone Star
Dallas, Texas 75212
5351 Samuel Blvd.
Dallas, Texas 75228
5455 Blair Rd.
Dallas, Texas 75231
8700 N. Stemmons Fwy.
Dallas, Texas 75247
Child Abuse Prevention Center — The Child Abuse Prevention (also known as CAP) Center is a United Way agency with a mission to “build healthy families and a strong Dallas community by preventing child abuse and neglect.” Visit this website to learn more about programs, events, and ways to get involved. The center claims it has served more than 36,000 clients.
If you or your loved one were recently arrested for allegedly abandoning or endangering a child in Dallas or another community in Texas, it will be critical for you to quickly seek legal representation. You are going to want to be sure that you find a skilled criminal defense attorney who is familiar with these types of cases.
The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy will be instantly committed to helping you achieve the outcome that results in the fewest possible consequences. Call 972-233-5700 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.