ENDANGERING WELFARE OF CHILD ATTORNEY
Child endangerment is formally referred to as Endangering the Welfare of a Child or EWOC in Pennsylvania. If you are charged with Endangering the Welfare of a Child, continue reading to learn more about the charges.
ENDANGERING WELFARE OF CHILD (EWOC) DEFINED
The Endangering Welfare of Child statute is found at Section 4304 of the Pennsylvania Crimes code. If charged with EWOC, there are several elements the prosecution must meet to prove you guilty of this charge:
- That you were a parent, guardian, or other person supervising the welfare of a child under 18 years of age. This includes individuals who are not parents or guardians if the individual provides care, education, training or control over a child.
- That you knowingly endangered the welfare of a child, or in other words, were almost certain that your actions endangered a child.
- That the child was endangered because you violated a duty of care, protection or support.
EWOC FOR OFFICIALS
While less common, a person can also be charged with Endangering the Welfare of a Child if he or she acts in an official capacity, and prevents or interferes with the making of a report of suspected child abuse to the proper agency or police department.
PENALTIES FOR CHILD ENDANGERMENT
An EWOC charge is typically graded as a 1st-Degree Misdemeanor punishable by up to 5 years in prison. An EWOC charge is graded as a 3rd-Degree Felony punishable by up to 7 years in prison when the person charged engaged in a course of conduct, or more than one isolated incident.
WHEN CAN I BE CHARGED WITH ENDANGERING THE WELFARE OF A CHILD?
There are numerous examples of incidents where a parent, guardian or third party can be charged with Endangering the Welfare of a Child, some of which include:
- Physically or sexually abusing a minor (most common);
- Failing to report physical or sexual abuse committed by an intimate partner, family member or other individual with whom you live;
- Providing alcohol or drugs to a minor;
- Police find drugs or alcohol in your residence that could have been accessed by a child;
- Committing a DUI with a minor in the vehicle;
- Driving with minor not using a seatbelt or not in a car seat;
- Getting into an automobile accident with minor in car as a result of reckless or negligent;
- Not properly supervising infants and children;
- Providing inadequate housing and nourishment.
As noted, the acts do not have to be intentional in order for you to be charged with child endangerment. One-time mistakes or instances of unintentional neglect can lead to you facing Endangering the Welfare of Children charge.
WHAT SHOULD I DO NEXT?
If you are charged with Endangering the Welfare of a Child, call the Zuckerman Law Firm now at 412-447-5580 for a free, confidential consultation. Do not discuss the incident or allegations with anyone but a Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney moving forward. Do not try to represent yourself in court. Let your lawyer negotiate directly with the police officer and prosecutor.
At the Zuckerman Law Firm, our attorneys have experience prosecuting and defending EWOC cases, and will work to achieve the best possible results. Call us today at 412-447-5580 to discuss the allegations and the range of options that may be available to you.