How can you be charged with a felony for child endangerment?

In Delaware, endangering the welfare of a child is a serious offense. It can be classified as a felony if certain criteria are in place. If a person puts a child in serious danger, they can face serious consequences and face equally serious penalties.

What is endangering the welfare of a child?

There are several ways a person can be found guilty of endangering the welfare of a child. According to Delaware law, it’s possible to be charged with a class A misdemeanor or even class E or class G felony in the following situations:

  • The person is a parent or guardian who assumes responsibility for caring for or supervising a child and intentionally, knowingly or recklessly acts in a way that is able to cause physical, mental or moral injury to the child or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly fails to act such as in failing to report the child missing or abuses or neglects the child.
  • The person knowingly contributes to the delinquency of a child younger than 18 or fails to act when circumstances can result in the child becoming a delinquent.
  • The person knowingly aids or abets, conspires with or encourages the child to run away from home or knowingly and illegally harbors them in their own home.
  • The person commits a violent felony knowing the crime was witnessed by a child under 18 years old.
  • The person commits a DUI with a child they know to be under 18 years of age in the vehicle with them.
  • The person commits a crime listed in Chapter 47 of Title 16 per criminal law in a home while knowing there is a child younger than 18 present during its commission.
  • The person allows a child to inhale a substance that was not prescribed by a doctor to the child.

What penalties can be faced for endangering the welfare of a child?

If a person is convicted of endangering the welfare of a child, they can face the following penalties:

  • If a child died as a result of the crime, the crime is charged as a class E felony.
  • If a child suffered serious physical injury during the commission of the crime, it is classified as a class G felony.
  • If the child was the victim of a sexual offense, the crime is classified as a class G felony.
  • In all other situations, the crime is charged as a class A misdemeanor.