Endangering the Welfare of a Child


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If an adult puts a child in their care in danger, they run the risk of a lifetime of regret as well as serious legal repercussions. If you made a single bad decision, and jeopardize a child’s safety by, for example, driving drunk with a child in the car, you will be charged with endangering welfare of children, called EWOC, as well as separate DUI charges.

Accusations of EWOC are not always based on fact. A bitter ex-spouse who wants custody of his or her children, for example, might make false claims.

Depending on the circumstances, endangering welfare of children can be a felony. If you are charged, it is essential that you hire a defense attorney as soon as you can.

What You Need To Know About Endangering Welfare Of Children

Pennsylvania defines endangering welfare of children as a parent, guardian or other person supervising the welfare of a child under 18, or a person who employs or supervises such a person, knowingly endangering the welfare of the child by violating a duty of care, protection or support.

You can be charged with EWOC if, in an official capacity, you prevent or interfere with making a report of suspected child abuse.

If you are charged, you face a misdemeanor of the first degree and five years in prison. If the prosecutor can prove there is a course of conduct of endangering the welfare of a child, the offense is raised to a felony of the third degree.

What To Do If You Are Charged

If you are charged with endangering welfare of children, do not anger the arresting officer unnecessarily. At this stage, do not discuss what happened with the police or claim your innocence.

  • As with most criminal charges, you should not talk to the police or prosecutors without your attorney by your side. What you say can be taken out of context and used against you.
  • If the police question you, tell them you want a lawyer and politely refuse to answer their questions.

What Your Lawyer Can Do

Your attorney will carefully review every aspect of your case to determine if there is evidence for all you have been accused of.

  • Your lawyer will make every effort to discredit any evidence not in your favor.
  • If false accusations were made, your attorney will work hard to find proof they were lies.
  • If the charges are due to a misconception of what took place, your attorney will find witnesses and evidence that prove the truth of what happened.

Your lawyer will be looking at every avenue that can help you, so it’s important that you give them all of the information that can support your case.

How A Lawyer Will Help

When you are up against an endangering welfare of children charge, even before your first hearing you will be facing a determined prosecutor and Pennsylvania’s stiff laws. You need an attorney who will stand by you every step of the way, work hard to discredit any evidence – and work with you to determine your best course of action.

Pennsylvania Endangering Welfare Of Children Law

Endangering welfare of children is described and defined under The Pennsylvania Criminal Code under Title 18, Chapter 43. Read the code here.

Questions? Contact us today.

Based on the evidence, Fienman Defense will try to show that the charges should be dismissed. If it’s in your best interest, we will work to negotiate a lesser sentence. Should the case go to trial, we will fight to present the strongest defense possible for your situation.