Child Endangerment Charges

Child endangering is a criminal act or failure to act that puts the health or safety of a child in danger. Ohio’s child endangerment law protects those who are unable to protect themselves. Ohio’s law:

  • protects children under 18 years of age and mentally or physically handicapped persons under 21 years of age;
  • prohibits a person from creating a substantial risk to the health or safety of a child and also criminalizes child abuse, torture, excessive corporal punishment, and other disciplinary measures that create a substantial risk of serious physical harm;
  • criminalizes drunk driving while a child is in the vehicle; and
  • prohibits a child to be near a house used for drug cultivation or manufacturing.

Child Endangering

Section 2919.22 of the Ohio Revised Code defines child endangerment. Depending on the allegations, it can be classified as a second degree, third degree, fourth degree, or fifth degree felony. Or, the offense can be classified as a first degree misdemeanor.

Physical Harm

In Ohio, depending on the type of violation, child endangerment can be classified as a second or third degree felony if the child suffers serious physical harm. A second degree felony is punishable by up to $15,000 in fines, 8 years imprisonment, or both.  A third degree felony is punishable by up to $10,000 in fines, 36 months imprisonment, or both.\

Child endangerment is classified as a third degree felony if the child:

  1. has been tortured;
  2. has been subjected to a prolonged period of excessive physical discipline that can create the risk of serious physical harm; or
  3. subjected to repeated unwarranted discipline that can create the risk of serious impairment of mental health or development.

Drug Cultivation or Manufacturing

Allowing a child near a house used for the cultivation or manufacture of drugs can be classified as a second or third degree felony  and, depending on the drug involved, can carry mandatory prison time.

Drunk Driving

Child endangering resulting from driving drunk with a child in the vehicle is classified as a first degree misdemeanor. If the child sustains injuries, depending on the degree, the offense can be a fourth or fifth degree felony.

A fourth degree felony is punishable by up to $5,000 in fines, 18 months imprisonment, or both.  A fifth degree felony is punishable by up to $2,500 in fines, 12 months imprisonment, or both.  A first degree misdemeanor is punishable by up to $1,000 in fines, 180 days in jail, or both.

In most other circumstances child endangerment is classified in Ohio as a first degree misdemeanor.

 

Get Help From an Attorney

Our law firm has a proven record defending against allegations of endangering children. Contact us to speak with a Columbus attorney or call us at 614.454.5010 for a free consultation.