Have you been arrested or charged in connection with child endangerment in Lexington, Kentucky? If so, you know the stakes are high. You need to act fast, and a top-rated Lexington child endangerment lawyer at Oakley & Oakley, LLC can help.
Since 2017, our criminal defense law firm has been fighting for the rights of the accused. We understand the importance of these cases to your future, and we stop at nothing to clear your name and protect your family. Contact our Lexington, KY law office to find out how we can help. Your initial consultation is free, so call(859) 254-4035 today.
How Oakley & Oakley Can Help If You’ve Been Charged With Child Endangerment in Lexington, KY
If you are facing criminal charges for endangering a child, the state of Kentucky has you in its crosshairs. Prosecutors pursue child endangerment cases with unique aggression. We know you are feeling angry, scared, and anxious about being accused of hurting your own child. Hiring an experienced Lexington criminal defense lawyer is essential in this unimaginable time.
When you hire our criminal law team to represent you, we put our 15+ years of experience to work building your defense.
When you hire us, some of the things we can do to build a strong case include:
- Fully understanding your side of the story
- Filing motions to suppress evidence
- Helping you navigate Child Protective Services investigations
- Developing and presenting proof of your innocence
- Negotiating with prosecutors for dismissal or reduction in charges
- Fighting the allegations at trial if necessary
Your freedom and the future of your family are too important to try going it alone or to hope it will all blow over. This is not going to blow over. Only an aggressive defense attorney can help you. Contact our Lexington, KY law office today so we can get started fighting for your rights.
What is Child Endangerment in Kentucky?
Child endangerment cases can have tragic consequences for you and your children. If you are accused of child endangerment, there can be charges for crimes as well as an investigation by child protective services.
Child endangerment can refer to many different criminal statutes in Kentucky. Depending on the circumstances, you may be charged with more than one crime.
Some common child endangerment charges include:
- Endangering the welfare of minor (Class A misdemeanor)
- Abandonment of minor (Class D felony)
- Wanton endangerment in the first, second degrees (Class D felony or Class A misdemeanor)
- Criminal abuse in the first, second, third degrees (Class C felony, Class D felony, Class A misdemeanor)
Endangering the Welfare of a Minor
Endangering the welfare of a minor is when a parent fails to exercise reasonable diligence to prevent the child from becoming neglected. Abandonment of a minor occurs when a parent intentionally abandons a child under circumstances that endanger their life or health.
Wanton endangerment has varying levels of severity depending on the risk to the child and the egregiousness of the guardian’s actions. For instance, first-degree wanton endangerment involves showing extreme indifference to human life and engaging in conduct that creates a risk of serious injury or death.
Second-degree wanton endangerment only requires conduct that wantonly creates a risk of physical injury to a child. Wanton means deliberate or willful and refers to distasteful actions.
Criminal abuse is not typically thought of as child endangerment—people tend to separate the two because endangerment implies exposing a child to unsafe conditions, whereas abuse implies directly inflicting injury. However, child abuse readily fits within the area of the law known as child endangerment.
Child abuse has varying levels of severity depending on whether the conduct was intentional, wanton, or reckless. The conduct at issue is abusing or exposing a child to the abuse of another. This means even if you weren’t the abuser, you can still be convicted.
No matter which specific child endangerment crime you’ve been accused of, you need legal advice and you need it fast. The clock is ticking, don’t give the state a head start as they build their case against you.
What is a Child Protective Services Investigation?
When you are accused of child endangerment, the police will handle the criminal investigation. They will then refer your situation to the Kentucky Division of Protection and Permanency of the Department of Community Based Services (DCBS) for its own investigation. Keep in mind that Kentucky mandatory reporting laws mean that allegations could come from any number of people, depending on who suspects you of child endangerment.
Oakley & Oakley believes that you have a constitutional right to parent under the due process clause which protects your rights to life and liberty. We will go to bat for you throughout the investigative process to prevent the state from pursuing termination of parental rights (TPR).
While the child protection branch’s mission of protecting children is admirable, in practice, the system frequently abuses and tramples on parents’ rights.
The child protection process typically follows these steps:
- Abuse allegations reported
- Investigation quickly initiated by DCBS, involving unannounced in-person interviews
- Social worker can create a child safety plan with the parents or apply to a judge for an emergency custody order removing children if the state believes they will be unsafe during the investigation
- Social worker makes a final report with a finding of either:
(1) No finding
(2) Unsubstantiated if no further action needed
(3) Substantiated if problems are found
(4) Family in need of services finding
If the finding is “substantiated” or “in need of services,” there are several things that can happen. The Department could negotiate an “aftercare plan” with you to properly care for the child. They could require you to participate in social services programs (such as food banks, child care, or counseling). The worst-case scenario is they initiate further court proceedings to terminate parental rights and take your children from you.
The social workers work together with the police. Anything uncovered by social workers will be shared with law enforcement, and vice versa. Don’t fall into the trap of invoking your right to remain silent with police, but talking openly about every allegation with social workers.
It is a fine line between cooperating with a child services investigation to protect your parental rights and incriminating yourself. You are not going to be able to navigate this fine line alone. Bring in Oakley & Oakley child endangerment lawyers so we can coach you through this difficult process. We can and will fight for you.
Possible Outcomes of a Child Endangerment Accusation
Some of the consequences of a child endangerment case include:
- Pretrial no-contact orders with your own kids
- Child Protective Services opening an investigation
- Your children being temporarily placed into foster care
- Prison time and probation
- Termination of Parental Rights (TPR)
If you don’t have a partner or relative who can take custody of your kids while no-contact orders are in place, or while you are behind bars, your kids could be thrown into the foster care system.
The consequences can be devastating. Don’t risk handling this on your own. Oakley & Oakley will stand up for your rights and fight to clear your good name. Contact our Lexington, KY criminal defense attorneys right away for your free consultation.
What are the Penalties for a Conviction of Child Endangerment in Lexington, Kentucky?
The penalties for child endangerment convictions in Lexington, KY vary greatly depending on which specific statute you are convicted of violating. We understand how scary these criminal penalties are for you, which is why we treat every single case with the utmost attention and care it deserves.
Penalties for child endangerment convictions typically range from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class C felony.
The basic penalties are as follows:
- Class A misdemeanor: up to 12 months in jail
- Class D felony: one to five years in prison
- Class C felony: five to ten years in prison
At Oakley & Oakley, we pride ourselves on our track record of helping parents wrongfully accused of child endangerment. We will fight tooth and nail to restore your reputation and keep your family intact. Contact our Lexington criminal defense attorneys today so we can fight for your freedom.
Child Endangerment Statistics in Kentucky
According to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services statistics, the state of Kentucky received 105,143 reports of child abuse or neglect in 2019. Of these, 48% met the criteria for an investigation by the Division of Protection and Permanency. If you are facing an investigation for child endangerment, you certainly are not alone.
What Defenses Can Be Raised if I’m Accused of Child Endangerment?
Each case is unique. We’ll listen carefully to your side of the story and build the strongest possible defense.
Depending on the circumstances, some possible defenses could be:
- Someone else was responsible for the injuries
- You didn’t intend to endanger or injure the child, and there was no way to predict that your actions would have caused injury
- Your actions were completely accidental
- The evidence is flawed or contaminated
- Evidence was obtained illegally
- Witnesses are biased
There are any number of possible defenses. We need to know your story in order to build the best defense for you. Call our Lexington child endangerment attorneys today for a free consultation.
Contact a Lexington Child Endangerment Lawyer for Help
If you need a Lexington child endangerment attorney, you need Oakley & Oakley. We will tenaciously defend you throughout investigations and court proceedings. We will stop at nothing to defend you against the allegations being leveled against you.
Our experienced Lexington criminal defense lawyers will leave no stone unturned, even if it means dispatching investigators or spending all night developing new and unique arguments. Don’t waste any more time, contact us to stand up for your rights and your family.