Is Child Neglect a Misdemeanor or Felony in Nevada?

Neglecting a child is considered to be a form of child endangerment in Nevada. It is against the law and can be charged either as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the unique facts of your case.  The penalties for a child neglect conviction in Nevada depends on the following:

the extent of any bodily or mental injuries; and

whether you are a repeat offender

Penalties for child endangerment range from only fines to several decades in Nevada State Prison.

However, it is important to highlight the fact that many people are falsely accused of child endangerment in Nevada, which is why it makes sense to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss your legal options.

Legal Definition of Child Neglect

According to Nevada Revised Statute 200.508, a defendant can be convicted of child abuse, neglect or endangerment if there is sufficient evidence showing they willfully caused a child under the age of 18 to suffer unjustifiable physical pain. A defendant can also be convicted for willfully causing the child to experience unjustifiable mental suffering as a result of abuse or neglect.

Is It Possible to Serve Jail Tim for Child Neglect in Nevada?

The answer is – maybe. The potential penalties for child neglect in Nevada are dependent upon two primary factors:

  1. Whether you have a record of child neglect, abuse, or endangerment; and
  2. whether the child suffered substantial bodily harm or psychological harm

Penalties for Child Neglect

The potential penalties associated with being convicted for child neglect vary depending on specific factors. As mentioned, one of the specific factors is whether the child sustained bodily or mental harm due to the neglect. If there is evidence of actual harm, you could be charged with a category B felony in Nevada. This felony charge, if convicted, means you could be ordered to serve between 2 and 20 years in Nevada State Prison.

If you have a prior conviction on your record for child neglect, abuse or endangerment, a second arrest could mean you get charged with a category C felony. If convicted, you could be ordered to serve between 1 and 5 years in prison and pay a $10,000 fine.

If, on the other hand, you have no previous convictions for child neglect or abuse, then you will most likely be charged with a gross misdemeanor. If convicted, you could be ordered to serve 364 days in jail and pay a fine of $2,000.

Defending Against Child Neglect Criminal Charges

If you are charged with child neglect, you do not have to simply accept the facts as presented by the state prosecutor. When you have a skilled and aggressive criminal defense attorney advocating on your behalf, they can raise a number of potential defenses for you, depending on the facts of your case. Here are some potential defenses:

Neglect Allegations are False

It is not unusual for people to get wrongly accused of child endangerment by vengeful exes or irritable children. In some cases, children even inflict wounds on themselves to show they have been abused. In these cases, medical experts may be able to show the court how those wounds were self-inflicted. In addition, a defense attorney can challenge the accuser’s credibility on cross-examination.

There was No Reasonably Foreseeable Harm to the Child’s Physical or Mental Well-Being

Child neglect and/or endangerment charges typically do not apply when there is no realistic or foreseeable risk that the child could have suffered any physical or emotional harm. As long as the defendant had the child in a safe area that was not reasonably dangerous, they can fight these charges. For example, if you left your child at home to run a few errands and your child was being watched by a neighbor or family member, the risk to your child’s physical or mental well-being is de minimis at best. If, on the other hand, you left your newborn child alone in the house and were gone for an extended period of time, the risk of conviction increases.

Speak to an Experienced Las Vegas Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

If you were arrested and charged with child neglect or any other form of alleged child abuse in or around Las Vegas, now is the time to retain the services of a knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense attorney. Courts are not lenient or understanding when a defendant is charged with allegedly harming a child, or placing a child in harm’s way.

This is why you need to have top-notch legal counsel on your side ready to take on the government and fight for you. 

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