Child Endangerment

Abandoning or Endangering Child Charges in Fort Worth and Tarrant County

If you have been arrested in Tarrant County or have become the target of a criminal investigation for the criminal offense of abandoning or endangering a child, contact Jeff Hampton with The Hampton Law Firm immediately for a free consultation to explain your legal rights and options under Texas law.

One of the most common situations where a Tarrant County citizen is charged with abandoning or endangering a child is when a parent, grandparent or babysitter leaves their car and forgets that their sleeping child is in the car seat exposed to the extreme heat of our North Texas summers. Although it may have been an innocent mistake, this fact scenario can place you in a position of being arrested, charged and prosecuted for a serious felony offense in Tarrant County, Texas. I strongly encourage you to call my law office or another experienced child endangerment defense lawyer for help.

Texas Law Defining Child Endangerment

Under Texas Penal Code, Section 5: Offenses Against the Person, Section 22.041, the following elements of Abandoning or Endangering Child must be proven by the State of Texas beyond a reasonable doubt to sustain a criminal conviction against a citizen of Tarrant County: a person commits the offense of abandoning or endangering child if, having custody, care, or control of a child younger than 15 years, he intentionally abandons the child in any place under circumstances that expose the child to an unreasonable risk of harm.

A person also commits the crime of Abandoning or Endangering Child if he intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence, by act or omission, engages in conduct that places a child younger than 15 years in imminent danger of death, bodily injury, or physical or mental impairment.

Texas Laws Regarding Child Abandonment

Abandonment is specifically defined under Texas law. The term “abandon” means to leave a child in any place without providing reasonable and necessary care for the child, under circumstances under which no reasonable, similarly situated adult would leave a child of that age and ability. Texas law also outlines certain factual situations where it is presumed that a person engaged in conduct that places a child in imminent danger of death, bodily injury, or physical or mental impairment:

  1. The person manufactured, possessed, or in any way introduced into the body of any person the controlled substance methamphetamine in the presence of the child;
  2. The person’s conduct related to the proximity or accessibility of the controlled substance methamphetamine to the child and an analysis of a specimen of the child’s blood, urine, or other bodily substance indicates the presence of methamphetamine in the child’s body; or
  3. The person injected, ingested, inhaled, or otherwise introduced a controlled substance listed in Penalty Group 1, Section 481.102, Health and Safety Code, into the human body when the person was not in lawful possession of the substance as defined by section 481.002(24) of that code.

Punishment, Prison Time & Fines for a Child Endangerment Conviction

If the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office alleges that you intentionally abandoned a child under circumstances that exposed the child to an unreasonable risk of harm but you intended to return for the child or they allege that you intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence, by act or omission, engaged in conduct that placed a child in imminent danger of death, bodily injury, or physical or mental impairment, the crime will be classified as a State Jail Felony, punishable by a term in a state jail prison facility of not less than 180 days, but not more than 2 years and a fine of up to $5,000.

If the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office alleges that you intentionally abandoned a child under circumstances that exposed the child to an unreasonable risk of harm but you never intended to return for the child, the crime will be classified as a 3rd degree felony, punishable by a term in prison of not less than 2 years, but not more than 10 years and a fine of up to $10,000.

If it is alleged that you intentionally abandoned a child under circumstances that exposed the child to an unreasonable risk of harm and you abandoned the child under circumstances that a reasonable person would believe would place the child in imminent danger of death, bodily injury, or physical or mental impairment, the crime will be classified as a 2nd degree felony, punishable by a term in prison of not less than 2 years, but not more than 20 years and a fine of up to $10,000.

Contact a Defense Attorney for Child Endangerment or Abandonment Charges

It is important that your abandoning or endangering child case be handled correctly and that you have the help of an experienced defense attorney. Ideally, look for legal counsel that has experience successfully handling felony criminal cases. An effective child endangerment lawyer should have at least a decade of experience handling serious criminal allegations. If you choose to hire me, I will aggressively fight for you by thoroughly investigating your case and exploring all possible defenses and options available to you under the law to ensure this criminal allegation does not result in a conviction on your criminal record.

Contact the Hampton Law Firm now to schedule a free consultation to determine your rights and legal options.