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Abandoning or Endangering a Child

Many cases of alleged child abandonment or endangerment are reported to Child Protective Services (CPS) by child care professional or other parties who fear criminal penalties for failing to do so. Texas Family Code § 261.101 requires all people having cause to believe that a child's physical or mental health or welfare has been adversely affected by abuse or neglect by another person to immediately make a report with the appropriate agency.

Parents and caretakers are often shocked to learn they are being investigated or charged with child endangerment or abandonment. The authorities investigating these alleged offenses are often seeking evidence and statements that will help prosecutors secure convictions.

Lawyer for Abandoning or Endangering a Child in San Antonio, TX

As soon as you have been arrested or learn that you could be the target of a criminal investigation for alleged child abandonment or endangerment, it will be in your best interest to seek legal counsel before making any kind of statement to police or other investigators. Goldstein, Goldstein, Hilley & Orr has been protecting the rights of parents and caretakers throughout Bexar County since 1968.

Our San Antonio criminal defense attorneys are esteemed members of the legal community on local, state, and national levels. Gerry Goldstein and Cynthia Orr are both former presidents of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) and the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (TCDLA), Van Hilley has served as president of the San Antonio Bar Association, and Don Flanary is currently on the Board of Directors of the TCDLA and the San Antonio Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (SACDLA).

You can receive an honest and thorough evaluation of your case as soon as you call 210-226-1463 today to schedule a free consultation.


Overview of Child Abandonment or Endangerment in Bexar County


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Child Abandonment or Endangerment Charges in Texas

Under Texas Penal Code § 22.041(a), the term “abandon” means “to leave a child in any place without providing reasonable and necessary care for the child, under circumstances under which no reasonable, similarly situated adult would leave a child of that age and ability.” Alleged offenders can be charged with abandoning or endangering a child if—having custody, care, or control of a child younger than 15 years of age—they intentionally abandon the child in any place under circumstances that expose the child to an unreasonable risk of harm.

People can also be charged with this crime if they intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence, by act or omission, engage in conduct that places a child younger than 15 years of age in imminent danger of death, bodily injury, or physical or mental impairment. Texas Penal Code § 22.041(c-1) includes the following forms of conduct as presumably placing a child in imminent danger of death, bodily injury, or physical or mental impairment:

  • Manufacturing, possessing, or in any way introducing into the body of any person methamphetamine in the presence of the child;
  • Proximity or accessibility of methamphetamine to the child and an analysis of a specimen of the child's blood, urine, or other bodily substance indicates the presence of methamphetamine in the child's body; or

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Penalties for Abandoning or Endangering a Child in San Antonio

Child abandonment or endangerment is a felony offense in Texas. The statutory maximum punishment for a conviction on this charge depends on the specific circumstances of the alleged offense.

Alleged offenders could face the following range of sentences:

  • If an alleged offender with custody, care, or control of a child younger than 15 years of age intentionally abandons the child in any place under circumstances that expose the child to an unreasonable risk of harm with intent to return for the child, or intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence, by act or omission, engages in conduct that places a child younger than 15 years of age in imminent danger of death, bodily injury, or physical or mental impairment, it is a state jail felony punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and/or up to two years in jail.
  • If an alleged offender with custody, care, or control of a child younger than 15 years of age intentionally abandons the child in any place under circumstances that expose the child to an unreasonable risk of harm without intent to return for the child, it is a third-degree felony punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and/or up to five years in prison.
  • If an alleged offender abandons a child under circumstances that a reasonable person would believe would place the child in imminent danger of death, bodily injury, or physical or mental impairment, it is a second-degree felony punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and/or up to 20 years in prison.

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Texas Child Abandonment or Endangerment Resources

Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) | Texas Child Protective Services (CPS) — CPD is a DFPS program that is designed to protect children and to act in the children's best interest by investigating reports of child abuse and neglect. While one of the main responsibilities of CPS is to keep children with their families when possible, the primary objective is also to prevent further harm to a child. On this website, you can learn more about state laws, CPS policies, and find answers to frequently asked questions. CPS has eight different locations in San Antonio, including:

DFPS Region 8 Office
3635 Southeast Military Drive
San Antonio, Texas 78223
(210) 333-2004

ChildSafe | Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment — ChildSafe is a nonprofit organization that provides child abuse prevention and treatment services and education to children and families throughout Bexar County. On this website, you can learn more about what the organization does and the types of services it provides. You can also find answers to frequently asked questions, annual reports, and ways to get help.

ChildSafe
7130 West US Highway 90
San Antonio, TX 78227
(210) 675-9000


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Find a Lawyer for Abandoning or Endangering a Child in San Antonio, Texas

Have you been arrested or do you believe that you could be under investigation for alleged child abandonment or endangerment in Texas? You should immediately contact Goldstein, Goldstein, Hilley & Orr to determine what legal help may be available for your situation.

Our criminal defense attorneys in San Antonio have decades of experience proving the innocence of people wrongfully accused of violent crimes and working to get criminal charges reduced or dismissed for clients all over Bexar County. You can receive a completely free initial consultation that will allow our lawyers to review your case by calling 210-226-1463 or filling out an online contact form today.