The crime of Child Endangering is a criminal act or failure to act that puts the health or safety of a child in danger. Ohio’s Endangering Children law is meant to protect those who are unable to help themselves. Specifically, it protects children under 18 years of age, and mentally or physically handicapped persons under 21 years of age. It 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.
It makes it a crime to drive drunk with a child in the vehicle, or to allow a child to be near a house used for the cultivation or manufacture of drugs.
The offense of Child Endangering is defined in Section 2919.22 of the Ohio Revised Code. Depending on the allegations, it can be classified as a second degree felony, third degree felony, fourth degree felony, fifth degree felony, or first degree misdemeanor.
If the child is alleged to have suffered serious physical harm, then the offense can be classified as either a second degree felony or a third degree felony depending on the type of violation. A second degree felony is punishable by up to $15,000.00 in fines, 8 years imprisonment, or both. A third degree felony is punishable by up to $10,000.00 in fines, 36 months imprisonment, or both.
Allowing a child near a house used for the cultivation or manufacture of drugs can be classified as a felony of either the second or third degree and can, depending on the drug involved, carry mandatory prison time.
If the child is alleged to have been (1) tortured; (2) subjected to a prolonged period of excessive physical discipline creating a risk of serious physical harm; or (3) subjected to repeated unwarranted discipline creating the risk of serious impairment of mental health or development;, then the offense is classified as a third degree felony.
Child Endangering resulting from driving drunk with a child in the vehicle is classified as a first degree misdemeanor, unless the child is alleged to have been harmed, in which case the offense can be either a fourth or fifth degree felony depending on the degree of harm suffered.
A fourth degree felony is punishable by up to $5,000.00 in fines, 18 months imprisonment, or both. A fifth degree felony is punishable by up to $2,500.00 in fines, 12 months imprisonment, or both. A first degree misdemeanor is punishable by up to $1,000.00 in fines, 180 days in jail, or both.
In most other circumstances the crime of Child Endangerment is classified in Ohio as a first degree misdemeanor.
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