New York Penal Law on Syracuse Child Abuse Allegations
Although the idea of what child abuse generally involves is certainly illegal, “child abuse” is not a term used in New York Penal Law. Instead, New York Penal Law §260.10 criminalizes the act of “Endangering the Welfare of a Child.”
There are two primary ways you could violate this provision. The first involves acting in a way that you know is likely to result in an injury to the physical, mental, or moral health of the child. It is also illegal to expose a child to or allow the child to perform a hazardous occupation. This provision applies to any child under the age of seventeen, regardless of their relationship with you.
The second way you could violate this statute applies only to parents or guardians of children. It is illegal for you to treat children under the age of eighteen of whom you are a parent or guardian in a way that results in them becoming an “abused child”, a “neglected child”, a “juvenile delinquent”, or a “person in need of supervision.” These are categories created by New York’s family courts to describe the status of certain children.
A conviction under this statute is a class A misdemeanor that could result in a maximum of one year in jail. However, the potential consequences of these accusations can reach far beyond the criminal punishments.
Non-Criminal Effects of a Child Abuse Conviction
Just as concerning as the potential criminal penalties for a conviction is the effect that such an accusation could have on your family life. The mere filing of charges may trigger the prosecutor to ask for a protective order requiring you to cease all contact with your children.
This order could require you to change addresses, lose visitation rights, and even change your job. This motion is often made at an initial hearing in the case, so it is vital to be prepared to present a defense at the earliest possible time.
Furthermore, the court may order that these protective orders become permanent if you are found guilty in court. Therefore, even if you are not sentenced to jail after a conviction, your life may be forever changed.