Charged with a DWI & Endangering the Welfare of a Child in Mercer County, New Jersey?
Although driving while intoxicated offenses in New Jersey are considered traffic in nature, the penalties are severe. With that being said, if a Defendant is accused of driving while intoxicated and their is a child in the vehicle at the time incident, the penalties can be life changing. Anyone accused of driving while intoxicated while a child is present, will also be charged with endangering the welfare of a child. This is a very serious criminal felony offense in New Jersey. One that could land a Defendant behind bars for up to a decade. In addition, because of the new bail reforms, a Defendant charged with endangering the welfare of a child may find themselves being detained in the Mercer County Jail, without bail, pending trial. Pursuant to the new bail guidelines, the Mercer County Prosecutor’s office has the ability to file for a detention hearing. At which point they will seek to convince the Judge that the Defendant must be held in the Mercer County Jail without bail, pending trial. Obviously, these hearings can and should be contested. So, now more than ever, time is of the essence.
Being charged with endangering the welfare of a child based on a DWI arrest is a very common offense in Mercer County. If you have been charged with DWI, endangering the welfare of a child, DUI, assault by auto, aggravated assault or leaving the scene of an accident, in Mercer County, NJ, we can help. Our office serves all of Mercer County, including towns like Hamilton, Trenton, Ewing, Lawrence, West Windsor, East Windsor and Princeton. Our attorneys possess the skill set needed to defend these types of charges. We specialize in not only criminal defense but we have also received very unique DWI defense training as well. To speak to one of our experienced Mercer County criminal defense attorneys about your options please contact us at (609)789-0779. As always, our initial consultations are free of costs. So, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us.
Endangering the Welfare of a Child Lawyers in Hamilton NJ
If you have been charged with endangering the welfare of a child as a result of a DWI incident, in Mercer County, it is crucial that you speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The logic behind being charged with this offense is that if an individual is driving while intoxicated with a child in the vehicle, then they “caused the child harm that would make the child an abused or neglected child”. The term child has been defined as anyone under the age of eighteen, the legislatures increased the age from 16 to 18 back in 2013. It is also important to note here that the term child only refers to one’s age and not a legal duty to care for a child (parent). With that being said, as you will see below, if the individual assumed a legal duty for the care of the child or who assumed responsibility for the care of the child, they will face enhanced penalties. Here is a breakdown between the different degrees.
Will I go to Jail for Endangering the Welfare of a Child in NJ?
N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4a is the governing statute in New Jersey for endangering the welfare of a child. If you have been accused of endangering the welfare of a child and you are deemed to have a legal duty for the care of the child or have assumed responsibility for the care of the child, then you will be charged with a second degree felony. A second degree felony is punishable by anywhere from five (5) to ten (10) years in a New Jersey State Prison, a fine up to $150,000 and felony criminal record. Since this is a second degree felony, there is a presumption of incarceration that controls. Meaning that it is almost certain that if someone is convicted of this offense they will be sentenced to a term of imprisonment. In addition, this criminal offense is one of the few offenses that are non expungeable as well. On top of that, a Defendant will still have to face the penalties for a DWI conviction as well. Those include, mandatory license suspensions, high fines and incarceration as well.
Conversely, if a Defendant has been charged endangering the welfare of a child where it is established that they did not have a legal duty to care for the child nor did they assume responsibility for the care of the child, then you will be charged with a third degree felony. A third degree felony is punishable by anywhere from three (3) to five (5) years in a New Jersey State Prison, a fine up to $15,000 and felony criminal record. Unlike a second degree felony, a third degree felony does not carry a presumption of incarceration. Meaning that, unless the State overcomes the presumption, anyone convicted of this offense will not be sentenced to a term of imprisonment. However, imprisonment only refers to State Prison and not county jail, that is still a possibility. Also, just like the second degree version, this offense is non expungeable to and the Defendant will still have to face the penalties for a DWI conviction as well. Those include, mandatory license suspensions, high fines and incarceration as well.
Contact our Trenton NJ Child Endangerment Defense Lawyers to Discuss Your Case
If you or a loved one has been charged with a DUI, DWI, Refusal to Submit to a Breath Sample, endangering the welfare of a child, aggravated assault, assault by auto or death by auto, in Mercer County, the Keith Oliver Criminal Law can help. Our criminal defense attorneys are standing by to help assist in anyway that we can. We fully understand what a conviction for a DWI let alone a conviction for endangering the welfare of a child can do to someone’s life. If you would like to come into our office for a free face to face consultation, then please contact us at (609)789-0779. We appear in courts throughout Mercer County, including the Mercer County Superior Court, the Hamilton Municipal Court, the Lawrence Municipal Court, the Ewing Municipal Court, the Robbinsville Municipal Court and the West Windsor Municipal Court. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us.