Children are among the most vulnerable people in our society. As such, they need special protection. We strive to protect them from any act that could endanger them and yet, child endangerment in Oklahoma remains an issue.
As adults, we are better equipped to deal with the difficulties that we encounter than are children. However, life can be difficult for parents of children and when it is, sometimes, the children are the ones to suffer most. Where do we draw the line between difficult situations and child endangerment? It can be a daunting task for everyone. Here are some facts you may want to know about child endangerment in Oklahoma.
Child Endangerment in Oklahoma Defined
In Oklahoma, child endangerment encompasses a number of possible situations which can be dangerous for a child to be involved in.
Legally, a child is an unmarried person under the age of 18. Okla. Stat. tit. 10A § 1-1-105
Child endangerment in Oklahoma is defined as knowingly permitting the physical or sexual abuse of a child, knowingly allowing a child to be present in a place where drugs are manufactured, knowingly permitting a child to be in a vehicle when the person knows or should have known that the driver is under the influence of an intoxicant, or when the person is themselves is driving while intoxicated with a child in the vehicle. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 852.1
All of these acts are deemed to be injurious to the health and safety of a child.
There are Defenses to Child Endangerment
If a person reasonably believes that any action to stop the physical or sexual abuse or deny permission for the child to be in the vehicle with an intoxicated person would result in substantial bodily harm to the child, the adult would have a legally cognizable defense to a charge of child endangerment in Oklahoma.
Refusing medical treatment on the basis of a religious preference for the use of prayer does not rise to the level of child endangerment as long as the refusal is made in good faith.
Penalties for Child Endangerment
Child endangerment is a felony in Oklahoma. It is punishable by a prison term of up to four years, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.
Get help from an experienced Stillwater criminal defense lawyer. Your lawyer can help you decide how best to proceed with your case and can help you build a strong defense to protect your freedom.
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