Abandoning or Endangering a Child

Parents and caretakers are often surprised when they find out they have been accused of abandoning or endangering a child. Unfortunately, this happens all the time even to loving and devoted parents. Since the state of Texas has strict domestic violence and child regulations, law enforcement officials are generally quick to arrest if there’s evidence of child abuse.

In addition, a conviction for abandoning or endangering a child can have significant long-term consequences. Aside from hefty fines and jail time, an individual that is charged with this crime can experience challenges when applying for housing or employment.

Contact The Gracia Law Firm, P.C. if you have been accused of endangering a life of a minor in Texas.

Brownsville Attorney for Child Endangerment, TX

If you have been charged with child endangerment or any form of child abuse, you need a skilled Brownsville defense attorney to represent you now. Jonathan Gracia and his team have been protecting the rights parents and caretakers for over a decade. Along with a reputable background, their dependable nature has gained the trust of many in Brownsville, Texas.

The Gracia Law Firm, P.C. also defends clients throughout Hidalgo County, Cameron County, and Willacy County. Please call 956-504-2211 to speak to one of our attorneys or to set up an appointment. Our motto at The Gracia Law Firm, P.C. is “we work hard, so you rest easy” and we promise to do everything in our power to make this motto a reality. Call 956-504-2211 to set up your first consultation today.

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Information Center

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What Constitutes Abandonment and Child Endangerment in Texas?

Under Texas Penal Code §22.041., “abandon” means to leave a child in any place without providing reasonable or necessary care.

  • An individual commits the offense if he purposefully abandons a child under 15 years of age in any place that exposes the child to an unreasonable risk of harm.
  • An individual commits an offense if he recklessly 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.

Additionally, according to Section 261.001(1) of the Texas Family Code, “abuse” includes, but are not limited to, the following acts:

  • When a caregiver allows a child to be in a situation where they are subject to mental or emotional injury. Furthermore, the injury is considered observable in the child’s growth, development, and psychological functioning
  • When an adult fails to prevent the acts of another individual which results in physical injury and harm to the child
  • When an adult performs sexual conduct damaging to a child’s mental, emotional or physical state of being

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Requirements for Child Care Professionals

In Texas, individuals who are considered childcare professionals are required to report child endangerment and abandonment within 48 hours (Sec. 261.101). If they fail to do so, they can be charged with a misdemeanor or state jail felony. A professional is defined as anyone who is licensed or certified by the state or is an employee of a facility licensed, certified, or operated by the state and has direct contact with children.

Child care professionals includes:

  • Teachers
  • Nurses
  • Doctors
  • Day-care employees
  • Employees of a clinic or health care facility that provides reproductive services
  • Juvenile probation officers
  • Juvenile detention or correctional officers

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Penalties for Child Endangerment and Abandonment in Texas

Chapter 12 of the Texas Penal Code lists the punishments for a child abandonment or child endangerment offense. If the offender abandoned the child with the intent to return for the child, the penalty can result in a state jail sentence ranging from 6 months to 2 years and/or a fine up to $10,000. If the offender abandoned the child without the intent to return for the child, the penalty can result in a third-degree felony. The penalties can result in a prison sentence ranging from 2 to 10 years and/or a fine up to $10,000.

A child endangerment or abandonment may be considered a second-degree felony if the offender abandoned the child and placed them in a situation of imminent danger. This degree of offense can result in a prison sentence ranging from 2 to 20 years and/or a fine up to $10,000.

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Additional Resources

Texas Penal Code l Section 22.041 – View the full text of all state laws concerning abandoning or endangering a child in Texas. Under this section of the Penal Code, you can find definitions of specific terms such as “abandon” and explanations of how value is calculated in these cases.

Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) – DFPS is a program designed to protect children by investigating reports of child abuse and neglect.  Their primary objective is to prevent further harm to a child. Visit the website to learn more about state laws and find answers to frequently asked questions.

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The Gracia Law Firm, P.C. | Cameron County Attorney for Child Endangerment in TX

Abandoning or endangering a child can result in lifelong repercussions along with criminal penalties. If you or someone you know has been accused of abandoning or endangering a child, it is best to seek legal help as soon as possible. Contact The Gracia Law Firm, P.C. to speak to a knowledgeable and experienced Texas child endangerment attorney today.

Please call 956-504-2211 to speak to one of our skilled defense attorneys and schedule a free consultation. It is important that you reach out to us today so we can get started. We will instantly begin crafting an aggressive defense strategy for your child endangerment case.

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