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.
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.
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:
- has been tortured;
- has been subjected to a prolonged period of excessive physical discipline that can create the risk of serious physical harm; or
- 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.
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.