State laws and definitions of child endangerment differ and new laws concerning this charge are updated annually it seems. Driving without a license may be considered child endangerment in some states but not others. In many states another reason that you are cited for, such as reckless driving, will be enough to add child endangerment if the officer believes that you were driving in such a way that you put the child's safety at risk.
If you are stopped for an infraction such as reckless driving and are also found to be driving without a license then this may be enough to make the officer believe your poor driving was due to your inability to drive, due to not being licensed and having proper training, and thus add the charge of child endangerment. Again it all depends upon the specific state's laws.
In general child endangerment is normally found to be a criminal offence involving cases wherein children are subjected to certain dangerous or inappropriate situations. As we mentioned earlier keep in mind that child endangerment is defined differently in different places. Thus the precise behaviors that constitute child endangerment will vary.
Child endangerment laws can be quite stringent and sometimes adults do not even realize when they are breaking such laws. For instance in some states if you simply showing your young child (i.e. 3 year old) a firearm might constitute child endangerment.
Laws vary widely however anything that can cause harm to child's well being; both mentally and physically may be considered child endangerment depending upon your local laws. Other examples besides the one above are the use of or the sale of drugs where a child resides, also exposing the child to unsafe practices, environments can be considered child endangerment.
Illinois law states that if a child is left in a car for 10 minutes it could be considered child endangerment. In Georgia a driver may be found guilty of child endangerment if he is cited for a DUI while transporting a child under 14 years of age.
The penalties for child endangerment also vary. You can face fines or in serious cases you could lose custody of your kids if you have endangered them to such a large extent.
Iowa law 726.6 speaks about child endangerment. Here it states that a person who is the parent, guardian, or person having custody or control over a child or a minor under the age of eighteen with a mental or physical disability, or a person who is a member of the household in which a child or such a minor resides, commits child endangerment when they do certain acts. Some of these include:
- Knowingly acts in a manner that creates a substantial risk to a child or minor's physical, mental or emotional health or safety.
- An intentional act or series of intentional acts, uses unreasonable force, torture or cruelty that results in bodily injury, or that is intended to cause serious injury.
- An intentional act or series of intentional acts, evidences unreasonable force, torture or cruelty which causes substantial mental or emotional harm to a child or minor.
- Willfully depriving a child or minor of necessary food, clothing, shelter, health care or supervision appropriate to the child or minor's age, when the person is reasonably able to make the necessary provisions and which deprivation substantially harms the child or minor's physical, mental or emotional health.
- Knowingly permits the continuing physical or sexual abuse of a child or minor. However, it is an affirmative defense to this subsection if the person had a reasonable apprehension that any action to stop the continuing abuse would result in substantial bodily harm to the person or the child or minor.
- Abandons the child or minor to fend for the child or minor's self, knowing that the child or minor is unable to do so.
As for the penalties, Iowa law mentions that a person who commits child endangerment resulting in the death of a child or minor is guilty of a class "B" felony. A person convicted of a violation of this subsection shall be confined for no more than fifty years.
A person who commits child endangerment resulting in serious injury to a child or minor is guilty of a class "C" felony. Also a person who commits child endangerment resulting in bodily injury to a child or minor or child endangerment that does not result in a serious injury, is guilty of a class "D" felony.
That just gives you an idea of one state's definition of child endangerment. Most states find it to be child endangerment of you get a drunk driving (DUI) charge will there is a minor in the car. Sometimes the minor has to be under 14, other times under 18.
As an example Georgia law a person who receives a DUI in a motor vehicle with a child under the age of 14 years in it is guilty of the separate offense of endangering a child by driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. . An offender who is convicted of a violation of this subsection shall be punished in accordance with the provisions of GA laws, relating to the offense of contributing to the delinquency, unruliness, or deprivation of a child.
The Georgia laws allow a person convicted of the child endangering charge by DUI to be be punished as follows: Upon conviction of the first or second offense, the defendant shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be fined not more than $1,000.00 or shall be imprisoned for not more than 12 months, or both fined and imprisoned.
To find out your state's specific laws regarding child endangerment and if a person driving without a license would be enough to get a person cited for this offense, try checking with your local police station, a lawyer or the Department of Motor Vehicles.