Endangering the Welfare of a Child, Penal Law Section 260.10 - Information

NAME

Endangering the Welfare of a Child

NEW YORK PENAL CODE

260.10

OFFENSE LEVEL

A Misdemeanor

DESCRIPTION OF CRIME

You name it.  Officially a person endangers the welfare of a child when he knowingly does something that would be likely to be injurious to the physical, mental or moral welfare of a child less than 17 years old.  Therefore, almost anything you can imagine could be charged as endangering the welfare of a child.  An argument could be made that taking a child to an amusement park endangers his physical, mental AND moral welfare.  

The most common situation in which this offense is charged is in the domestic violence context.  When a husband and a wife have a fight and the police respond, if they charge the husband with assault of the wife and there is a child on the premises, the husband will also be charged with endangering the welfare of child for assaulting the wife in the presence of the child.

I represented a single mother once who left her 16 year old daughter home alone overnight and was arrested for endangering the welfare of a child.  Go figure.

This is a crime that is limited only by your imagination, although our Courts have held that it is perfectly fine.

JAIL SENTENCING RANGE

Nothing up to One Year at Rikers Island

POTENTIALLY AVAILABLE SETTLEMENT OPTIONS FOR A FIRST ARREST

Endangering cases are usually in the context of the domestic violence bureaus in Criminal Court.  This will influence the availability of options and the type of options available.  All settlement options will typically include some for of an order of protection (either limited or full).

(1) ACD with parenting skills program, anger management program, substance abuse program, and potentially other forms of counseling.

(2) Disorderly conduct with programs above.

(3) Harrassment with programs above.

POTENTIAL COMPLICATING FACTORS

(1) Actual physical injuries to child

(2) History of domestic violence incidents even if no prior arrests

(3) Family Court Involvement

(4) Non Citizen

(5) Divorce / Custody context

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