Is it illegal in New York to leave your children in a car while you run errands? The answer, frankly, is “it depends,” but just as frankly, it’s never a good idea to leave kids in a car in New York, or anywhere for that matter, and it is possible to face charges for it. Under New York law, kid endangerment happens when someone knowingly acts in a manner likely to be harmful to the physical, mental, or moral welfare of a child under 17. That could include almost any improper caretaking of children, such as leaving them unattended in a car. If you are accused of child endangerment on Long Island or in New York City, it’s a serious charge; get serious legal help at once by contacting an experienced Long Island criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

Child Endangerment Charges

The issue of parents and other caretakers leaving children in cars is a difficult one that has been a topic of conversation for years. In 2012, the New York State Senate passed a proposal that would have made it illegal to leave children under age eight unattended in a car when conditions, such as extreme hot or cold weather, present a risk to the safety of the kid. The proposal never became law, so New York prosecutes these cases under the same child endangerment law (Penal Law 260.10) that forbids leaving children home alone or leaving alcohol, drugs, or weapons within their reach.

It’s important to note that the prosecution does not need to prove injury in order to convict the accused. The law states that there must be a potential for injury, however injury does not have to actually occur in order for the state of New York to believe that you committed a kid endangerment crime.

The prosecutor also does not have to prove that the parent or other caretaker had the intention to hurt the child. Although intent is part of many other crimes, it is not an element of the child endangerment charge, so it is not relevant to the case. If the child was in potential danger, whether it was intentional or not, it’s still a crime under the New York kid endangerment law.

A car left in 80-degree heat with the windows up can reach 120 degrees in less than an hour and cracking the windows doesn’t always help lower the temperature. New York aggressively prosecutes suspects charged with child endangerment, and if someone spots a child alone in your car and reports it, you’ll very likely be charged – even if you left the child alone only for several minutes. If you face a charge of child endangerment anywhere in the New York and Long Island area, get the legal help you will very much need and arrange immediately to speak with an experienced Long Island criminal defense attorney.

Who Can Be Charged?

Contrary to popular belief, parents are not the only ones who can be charged with child endangerment. Anyone who has the task of taking care of the kid at any given moment can be charged with child endangerment. This means that parents, guardians, teachers, daycare workers, coaches and other caretakers can all be charged with child endangerment in the state of New York.

Child Endangerment Consequences

If you are convicted of child endangerment, you may face fines and a jail sentence. On top of the legal penalties, authorities may also decide to file a family offense petition in the New York Family Court. Also, Child Protective Services may launch an investigation depending on the severity of the crime and surrounding circumstances. If these agencies believe that your kid is in danger under your constant care, you could lose custody of your child indefinitely.

Hire A Long Island Child Endangerment Attorney

The law is something that is very fact specific.  While statutes and regulations seek to control certain behaviors for the greater good, the circumstances surrounding each accusation will also be taken into account and weighed by the court in determining culpability.  Despite the fact that defendants are welcome to represent themselves in criminal court, anyone facing the serious charge of kid endangerment is highly encouraged to let an experienced attorney handle all aspects of the defense.  Attorneys are experienced and trained at presenting legally viable arguments to the court that laymen may not realize they can argue in their defense.

Another benefit to partnering with an attorney to defend against charges of child endangerment is that the attorney will be able to explain any of the questions that a defendant might have about the criminal process, chances of success, and the charges involved in non-legal, simple to understand terms.  Simply having an understanding of what is going on and what is at risk can do wonders for helping a person face their legal issues calmly and rationally.

Few parents want to harm their children; those who do certainly should be punished. When a child is abandoned in an automobile, and harm comes to the child as a result, it’s usually a tragic mistake. Nevertheless, when you leave a child unattended to run errands, even briefly, you risk criminal penalties. If you’re charged with child abuse or neglect, you’ll need a good criminal defense lawyer, and if you’re charged in or around New York City, you’ll need to obtain the services of an experienced Long Island criminal defense attorney immediately.

Most public defenders will care more about filtering you through the system than about the facts of the case. You want someone who won’t judge you and think of you as a bad person because of the charges against you. The best choice you can make right now is to call the Long Island domestic violence defense attorneys at the Mirsky Law Firm. We understand the emotion you are going through. We understand the devastation a child endangerment charge can take. The Long Island kid endangerment defense attorneys at the Mirsky Law Firm want to help you get back your sense of freedom.