Endangering the welfare of a child in New Jersey is a criminal offense governed by N.J.S. 2C:24-4 which provides:
- 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, § 1 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.
Endangering the Welfare of a Child can include any of the following:
- Statutory Rape (with a minor under 16 years of age)
- Sexual Assault
- DYFS hearings
- Driving while Intoxicated (DWI) with a minor in the vehicle
- Child abuse
- Child neglect
- Child molestation
- Child pornography
Endangering the welfare of a child in New Jersey can be a second degree or a third degree offense, depending on the circumstances of the alleged crime. A second degree crime in New Jersey contains a presumption of imprisonment with a range of incarceration up to (10) years. A third degree offense, on the other hand, contains no presumption of imprisonment; therefore any individual convicted of the lesser third degree charge may be able to serve a probationary sentence rather than jail time. Any potential incarceration is also significantly less than a second degree offense and includes a range of only three (3) to five (5) years of jail time.
In addition to the stigma you might face from an endangering the welfare of a child charge and conviction, endangering the welfare of a child can also include Megan’s Law registration requirements depending on the alleged circumstances of the crime. If convicted under certain circumstances Megan’s Law may require that you register in an internet database (which is open to the public) as a as well as requiring notifications in the community, your neighborhood, and your place of employment. Moreover, you will be eligible to be removed from these registration requirements only after fifteen (15) years and once certain criteria has been met.