Wayne Location
862-203-4070
Clifton Office
973-870-4654
Our Phones Are Answered 24/7

Passaic County Criminal Attorneys

  • Former County & Municipal Prosecutors
  • Over 100 Years of Combined Experience

Endangering the Welfare of a Child Attorneys in Paterson NJ

The offense of endangering the welfare of a child is set forth at N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4. Under this law, a child endangerment charge can be filed as a first degree, second degree or third degree crime. The age of the victim, as well as the relationship between victim and the accused, determine what grade of endangering the welfare of a child someone will face. While a first degree endangering the welfare of a child charge involves the most severe penalties, second degree endangering the welfare of a child and third degree endangering the welfare of a child are also extreme as they not only carry jail but mandatory registration under Megan’s Law. It is certainly in the best interests of anyone facing this charge to retain an attorney experienced in defending endangering charges. And that is what you will achieve with this firm. Take a good look at our credentials and give us a call for further assistance at 862-203-4070.

Endangering the Welfare of a Child Attorneys in Haledon NJ

N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4. Endangering the Welfare of a Child

There are a variety of ways for the State to charge and convict a defendant for endangering the welfare of a child. Subsection (a) of N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4 provides that:

a. Any person having a legal duty for the care of a child or who has assumed responsibility for the care of a child who engages in sexual conduct which would impair or debauch the morals of the child, or who causes the child harm that would make the child an abused or neglected child as defined in R.S.9:6-1, R.S.9:6-3 and P.L.1974, c.119, s.1 (C.9:6-8.21) is guilty of a crime of the second degree. Any other person who engages in conduct or who causes harm as described in this subsection to a child under the age of 16 is guilty of a crime of the third degree.

This section of the law provides for endangering the welfare of a child in the second degree when an individual engages in sexual conduct with a child (of any age) with whom they have a special relationship. If no such relationship exists but the child is under sixteen (16) years of age, it is endangering the welfare of a child in the third degree. Subsections (b)(3), (b)(4) and (b)(5) of the statute, which basically address creation of child pornography, provide for additional scenarios where a second degree endangering the welfare of a child can arise, as well as first degree endangering the welfare of a child. This portion of 2C:24-4 provides that:

3) A person commits a crime of the second degree if he causes or permits a child to engage in a prohibited sexual act or in the simulation of such an act if the person knows, has reason to know or intends that the prohibited act may be photographed, filmed, reproduced, or reconstructed in any manner, including on the Internet, or may be part of an exhibition or performance.  If the person is a parent, guardian or other person legally charged with the care or custody of the child, the person shall be guilty of a crime of the first degree.

(4) Any person who photographs or films a child in a prohibited sexual act or in the simulation of such an act or who uses any device, including a computer, to reproduce or reconstruct the image of a child in a prohibited sexual act or in the simulation of such an act is guilty of a crime of the second degree.

(5) (a) A person commits a crime of the second degree if, by any means, including but not limited to the Internet, he:

(i)knowingly distributes an item depicting the sexual exploitation or abuse of a child;

(ii)knowingly possesses an item depicting the sexual exploitation or abuse of a child with the intent to distribute that item; or

(iii)knowingly stores or maintains an item depicting the sexual exploitation or abuse of a child using a file-sharing program which is designated as available for searching by or copying to one or more other computers.

These three sections create a second degree crime for anyone to cause or permit a child to engage in a sexual act(s) for purposes of recording the conduct via film, photography, or to distribute child pornography. If an adult has a special relationship with the child engaged in these acts, the crime is elevated to a first degree. Finally, subsection 2C:24-4(5)(b) creates a third degree crime endangering offense for possession of child pornography. Third degree possession of child pornography applies when someone “knowingly possesses, knowingly views, or knowingly has under his control, through any means, including the Internet, an item depicting the sexual exploitation or abuse of a child.”

In determining how and when endangering the welfare of a child apples, it is essential to know how “prohibited sexual act” is defined in accordance with N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4. A “prohibited sexual act” refers to:

  • Sexual intercourse;
  • Anal intercourse;
  • Masturbation;
  • Bestiality;
  • Sadism;
  • Masochism;
  • Fellatio;
  • Cunnilingus;
  • Nudity, if depicted for the purpose of sexual stimulation or gratification of any person who may view such depiction ; or
  • Any act of sexual penetration or sexual contact as defined in N.J.S.2C:14-1.

Penalties for Endangering the Welfare of a Child

If convicted of endangering the welfare of a child in the first degree, a defendant faces between ten (10) and twenty (20) years in prison. Along with a lengthy prison sentence, a fine of up to $200,000.00 applies to first degree endangering the welfare of a child. If convicted of endangering the welfare of a child in the second degree, a defendant is exposed to five (5) and ten (10) years in prison. A fine that can reach $150,000 applies to endangering the welfare of a child in the second degree. A conviction for endangering the welfare of a child in the third degree carries between three (3) and five (5) years in prison. The maximum fine for a third degree is $15,000. It also important to know that a crime of the first or second degree has a presumption of incarceration, while a crime of the third degree has a presumption of non-incarceration if you have no prior felony record. In addition, as mentioned earlier, conviction of endangering the welfare of a child almost always triggers mandatory registration under Megan’s Law, along with community supervision for life.

Clifton NJ Endangering the Welfare of a Child Attorneys

The Law Office of Jonathan F. Marshall has been representing clients charged with various sex related offense in Passaic County including sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, criminal sexual contact, luring, endangering the welfare of a child for over a decade. If you would like to set up a free consultation with any one of the eight criminal defense lawyers on staff, please contact our Wayne office. Our attorneys are available 24/7 to help assist in any way possible. We have extensive experience representing clients charged with criminal offense in towns like Clifton, Paterson, Passaic City, Wayne, Little Falls, Wanaque and Woodland Park.

Call Toll-Free

800-333-4184

Or contact our office online to schedule a free consultation to discuss your unique charges with one of our experienced and qualified attorneys.

Schedule a free consultation