Child Endangerment

Child endangerment.

Child Endangerment

Putting a child in harm’s way in any scenario is a serious offense. Arizona handles endangerment charges broadly, and state law does not provide “child endangerment” as a specific offense. Instead, child endangerment can result from committing general endangerment, dangerous crimes against children, or child abuse.

In many cases, if a person has endangered a child, instead of being charged with endangerment, they will be charged with child abuse or dangerous crimes against children.

What are the differences?


According to A.R.S. 13-1201, “endangerment” is defined as “recklessly endangering another person with a substantial risk of imminent death or physical injury.” When it comes to children, examples include:

  • Leaving a child alone in a vehicle in excessive heat.
  • Failing to report child abuse.
  • Being under the influence while caring for a child.
  • Leaving a child unsupervised.

Endangerment is a class 1 misdemeanor, which can result in 6 months of incarceration. However, it is a class 6 felony if the endangerment involved a substantial risk of imminent death, which can result in incarceration of up to 2 years.

Child Abuse

According to A.R.S. 13-3623, child abuse occurs when a child is caused to suffer physical or emotional injury under any circumstance. This includes:

  • Impairment of bodily function.
  • Infliction of serious emotional damage.
  • Allowing someone else to inflict serious emotional damage.

Serious emotional damage includes the child showing signs of:

  • Severe anxiety.
  • Untoward aggressive behavior.
  • Emotional damage diagnosed by a medical doctor or psychologist.

Child abuse results in a variety of possible felony charges, with the most severe cases resulting in class 2 felony charges. First-time offenders can be incarcerated for up to 12.5 years with such a conviction.

Felony charges depend on the severity of the circumstances surrounding the abuse, the age of the child, and the level of recklessness or criminal negligence. Certain crimes against children under age 15 will be charged as “dangerous crimes against children,” which can result in even harsher penalties.

Dangerous Crimes Against Children

Arizona harshly punishes adults who commit dangerous crimes against children who are under the age of 15, pursuant to A.R.S. 13-705. Most crimes included in this charge are sexual offenses such as sexual assault and child sex trafficking, but also include crimes such as murder, assault, and kidnapping.

Penalties for committing a dangerous crime against children vary depending on the severity of the crime but offenders can potentially face life imprisonment.



With offices in Lake Havasu City and Scottsdale, our firm serves the entire state of Arizona, with a particular focus on criminal defense, family law, and juvenile cases.

Our goal is for the best outcome for your criminal case, which can include:

  • charges that are reduced or dropped.
  • top experts reviewing your case.
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  • fines or probation in lieu of jail time.

At Rideout Law Group, our attorneys are able to expertly examine the evidence in your case to provide a strong strategy for argument that leads to an outcome that is most favorable to you. We have experience in all types of criminal cases for both adults and juveniles, with positive outcomes both in plea negotiations as well as jury trial settings.

Call us today for a free consultation at 480-584-3328.

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