Uncovering the Causes and Consequences of Child Abandonment

Uncovering the Causes and Consequences of Child Abandonment

Child abandonment is a heartbreaking issue that occurs when a parent or caregiver fails to provide the necessary care and support for a child.

Abandonment can take many forms, from physical abandonment, where a child is left alone and unsupported, to emotional abandonment. Where a child is neglected and left to fend for themselves emotionally.

This can have devastating consequences for the child’s physical and mental health, education, and future opportunities. Unfortunately, child abandonment is a pervasive problem worldwide. Affecting millions of children each year.

It is important to comprehend the reasons and effects of child abandonment. Additionally, it is essential to identify measures that can help to stop and remedy it.

Know the Law and Protect Our Children

Under Section 22.041 of the Texas Penal Code, abandoning or endangering a child is a criminal offense.

This involves purposely leaving a child younger than 15 in a situation that puts them in serious danger. Including any action that causes immediate physical, mental, or even fatal injury. The Texas Penal Code states the consequences for being found guilty of leaving a child unattended or putting them in a dangerous situation.

Providing a reason for an action, not intending to do something, believing something to be true when it was not, and not being aware of something can all be used as excuses.

The person accused of the offense must have had some form of responsibility for the child. Whoever is accused of the crime must have had responsibility for the child. They can be prosecuted for intentional, reckless, knowing, or criminally negligent behavior.

Examples include:

·        failing to ensure a child wears a seat belt

·        leaving a child unattended in a car

·        hiring a known sex offender as a caregiver

·        giving alcohol to an underage driver

·        leaving a child unsupervised in an unsafe area.

Spanking a child with a belt can be seen as child endangerment. It can lead to a fine of up to $20,000 and two years in jail.

Neglectful supervision is punishable. This includes when a child is placed or left in a situation that could harm them physically.

Leaving a child in a car for more than five minutes under certain circumstances is specifically prohibited.

Child endangerment is a felony in Texas and can result in imprisonment for up to 20 years.

An exception exists. If the individual chooses a specific emergency infant care provider. They will not be charged for this offense.

What are the Penalties and Consequences of Child Abandonment or Endangerment?

Chapter 12 of the Texas Penal Code outlines the penalties and punishments for a conviction of child abandonment or endangerment.

If the alleged offender left the child with the intent to return, the offense is considered a state jail felony, punishable by a jail sentence ranging from 180 days to two years and/or a fine of up to $10,000. However, if the child was abandoned without the intent to return, the offense is a third-degree felony, punishable by a prison sentence ranging from two to ten years and/or a fine up to $10,000.

If the child was abandoned in a situation likely to cause bodily injury, death, or physical or mental impairment, the offense is a second-degree felony, punishable by a prison sentence ranging from two to 20 years and/or a fine up to $10,000.

Apart from these penalties, an individual charged with child abandonment or endangerment may also face several other consequences.

These include ineligibility for certain types of public assistance, adoption or foster parenting, admission into certain educational programs, and firearm ownership.

Additionally, they may face difficulty obtaining employment, lose their current employment, or have their professional licensing revoked.

What are the legal defenses for child abandonment or endangerment, and how can you understand your options?

In some cases of child abandonment or endangerment, legal defenses may be applicable. It is crucial to consult a knowledgeable family crimes defense attorney to determine the specific defenses that apply to your case. The following defenses are among the most effective legal defenses to allegations of child endangerment or abandonment:

  • Lack of Intent
  • Justification
  • Mistake of Fact
  • Lack of Knowledge
  • Alibi
  • Coercion
  • Duress

It is a valid defense to child endangerment if a person places a child under 15 in an organized athletic event.

This event must have appropriate safety equipment and procedures in place. Otherwise, the situation could result in physical or mental impairment or death.

It can be waived if the individual accused of the offense willingly gave the child to a specific emergency care provider for infants.

Arrested? Don’t Plea, Call Me!

It is essential to seek assistance from a competent criminal lawyer when dealing with child abandonment. This will help to avoid the risk of a false conviction.

Going up against skilled prosecution attorneys can be challenging. Every word you say in court could be used against you. Even seemingly harmless phrases can be misconstrued as confessions.

Therefore, our Criminal Defense Attorney are knowledgeable about what is appropriate to say and what should not be said. In conclusion, this will make sure that your rights are protected, and your case is viewed favorably.