Child Abandonment or Endangerment

Texas has strict child abuse, neglect, endangerment, and abandonment laws. Therefore, an individual who is convicted of the offense can face harsh criminal penalties. The general punishment for a child abandonment or child endangerment conviction is defined in Chapter 12 of the Texas Penal Code.

Child endangerment allegations can have lifelong consequences, aside from criminal penalties. An offender can face difficulty finding housing, obtaining employment, and much more. To avoid these consequences, it is in your best interest to seek legal help as soon as possible.

Texas Child Abandonment or Endangerment Attorney, Travis County

After a person has been arrested, a criminal record can have a detrimental effect on his or her future. People with any kind of criminal history can find themselves being denied a job, housing, or losing professional licenses. If you were charged with child abandonment or endangerment, it is best to seek the legal guidance of an experienced criminal defense attorney in Austin, TX.

The Law Office of Jackson F. Gorski is a skilled criminal defense law firm with offices in Austin and Georgetown, Texas. Our principal attorney Jackson Gorski has years of experience defending clients accused of child endangerment crimes. Allow him to advocate on your behalf. Call 512-960-4646 to schedule a free, confidential consultation today.

The Law Office of Jackson F. Gorski serves clients in Travis County, Blanco County, Travis County, Williamson County, Bell County, Hays County, Caldwell County, Bastrop County, and Milam County.


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Child Abandonment or Endangerment in Texas

Under Texas Penal Code §22.041, an individual commits child abandonment when the individual leaves a child in a place without providing reasonable and necessary care. For a jury to find the individual guilty, the prosecutor must also prove that no reasonable adult in a similar situation as the individual’s would leave a child of that age and ability in this predicament. In other words, the particulars of the abandoned child influence this charge. The child’s age, intellectual capability, able-bodiedness, and more impact the individual’s case. But other actions can result in a child abandonment and endangerment charge. According to this statute, the individual can commit this offense if, while having custody or control of a child younger than fifteen, they:

  • Intentionally abandon the child in an environment that exposes the child to an unreasonable risk of harm or
  • Intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or negligently engage in conduct that exposes the child to bodily injury, imminent danger, or physical or mental impairment

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Penalties for Child Abandonment or Endangerment in TX

Child abandonment or endangerment a state jail felony if an individual abandoned a fourteen-or-younger child with intent to return. In this case, a judge may sentence the individual from 180 days to two years or order the individual to pay a fine of up to $10,000.

The offense is enhanced to a 3rd-degree felony if the individual abandoned a fourteen-or-younger child without the intent to return. In this case, a judge may sentence the individual from two years to ten years or order the individual to pay a fine of up to $10,000. However, leaving a child in a predicament that could result in imminent death or bodily injury is a 2nd-degree felony, punishable from two to twenty years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000.


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Defenses for Child Abandonment or Endangerment

This statute is specific, but its plain language reading allows the individual to have many defenses at their disposal. Defenses for this accusation vary, specifically because each child is different. Some children are more precocious than others. Some children have proven they’re capable of fending for themselves. In that case, the individual is confident and capable of temporarily leaving them behind because they are mature enough to be alone for a time.

Defenses include:

  • Lack of harm
  • Lack of physical or mental injury
  • Lack of intent
  • Lack of knowledge
  • False accusation
  • Mistake of fact
  • Duress
  • Emergency justification

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Additional Resources

Texas Child Neglect And Child Abandonment Laws – The Findlaw’s website provides a legal dictionary defining child abandonment in Texas and the penalties attached to this crime. It also covers what mandatory reporters must do when they suspect child abuse or neglect.

Texas: Termination Of The Parent-Child Relationship – The Texas Statutes’ website describes Texas laws regarding terminating a parent-child relationship and when a court may order such termination by clear and convincing evidence.


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Austin Child Abandonment or Endangerment Lawyer, TX

An adult caring for a child has a legal responsibility to ensure that child is protected from unreasonably dangerous situations. When a caretaker fails to protect their child, he or she can be charged with child abandonment or endangerment. If you have been arrested for this offense in Texas, contact The Law Office of Jackson F. Gorski to receive experienced legal counsel.

Travis County defense attorney Jackson F. Gorski has years of experience defending Texas residents and visitors accused of child abandonment and endangerment. He can evaluate every aspect of your case and build a defense plan that will achieve the best possible outcome. To begin working on your case, call 512-960-4646 to schedule a free consultation today.

The Law Office of Jackson F. Gorski serves clients in Lakeway, Cedar Park, Pflugerville, Anderson Mill, Round Rock, Kyle, Seguin, Lockhart, Georgetown, Leander, Austin, Georgetown, San Marcos, Canyon Lake, New Braunfels, and Taylor, TX.


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