Mistreatment of minor children to any extent is a punishable offense according to state law. In cases where a person’s actions are so egregious that they purposefully or unintentionally put a child’s safety or well-being at risk, they could be charged with child endangerment.

If you are facing criminal charges for endangering a child, you should know that the consequences of this kind of violation on your criminal record can be severe. You may need the assistance of legal counsel to avoid the harsh penalties associated with this crime. Fortunately, a Minnesota child endangerment lawyer could use their knowledge of this area of law to help you develop a strong defense.

What Constitutes Endangerment of a Child in Minnesota?

Child endangerment is defined under Subdivision 1 of § 609.378(b) of the Minnesota Statutes. The law states that any parent, guardian, or caregiver who intentionally or heedlessly puts a child in a situation where they are likely to suffer harmful effects to their physical, mental, or emotional health is guilty of endangerment.

The severity of the criminal penalties assessed in a minor endangerment case will vary depending on a multitude of factors, such as the nature of the situation in which the child was placed and whether the harm inflicted was substantial. For additional information on the types of conduct that could prove guilt in a criminal endangerment offense, an accused person should consult a qualified Minnesota lawyer with child endangerment case experience.

Criminal Penalties for Jeopardizing a Minor Child’s Health and Safety

In general, if the court finds a defendant guilty of child endangerment, the potential penalties include a fine of up to $3,000, up to one year in prison, or both, according to state law. However, in cases where the harm a minor suffers is considerable and causes significant damage, harsher punitive measures may be taken.

In such cases, if the endangerment of a child causes substantial harm to their mental, physical, or emotional wellbeing or results in a fatality, the criminal penalties increase to a pecuniary fine of up to $10,000, a prison sentence of up to five years, or both. A knowledgeable Minnesota attorney could further explain the penalties assessed in child endangerment cases and the ways in which to mitigate such sanctions.

Speak with a Minnesota Child Endangerment Attorney Right Away

Due to their lack of capacity, vulnerability, and heightened susceptibility to sustaining harm, children are afforded extensive protections under the law. In cases in which a parent, guardian, or caretaker’s malfeasance causes damage to a child’s health or risks their safety, the accused person could face significant legal repercussions, regardless of whether the endangerment was reckless or intentional.

If you are facing these accusations and are at risk of being convicted of endangering a minor child, retaining sufficient legal representation could be critical to pursuing your defense. To learn more about how a Minnesota child endangerment lawyer could defend you against your charges, schedule a confidential consultation. Call today to speak with one of our attorneys and start building your case.