Child Endangerment vs. Child Abuse in Oklahoma

child endangermentChild endangerment, though less severe than child abuse under Oklahoma law, is still a serious crime. Here is what you need to know about the two crimes in Tulsa.

What is Child Endangerment in Oklahoma?

Oklahoma has a number of child endangerment laws. To some extent, they overlap.

The primary law covering child endangerment states that a person responsible for a child can be charged with child endangerment if that person knowingly permits the physical or sexual abuse of a child, allows the child to be present in a situation in which controlled dangerous substances are being manufactured, allows the child to ride in a motor vehicle in which the driver is intoxicated, or where the responsible adult is himself or herself is the intoxicated driver. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 852.1

It is a defense to the crime if the responsible adult allows the actions outlined above in reasonable belief that to deny the action would result in substantial bodily injury or harm to the child. Likewise, the statute does not apply to any adult responsible for a child when that adult in good faith selects and depends upon spiritual means or prayer for the treatment or cure of disease or remedial care for such child.

Child endangerment is a felony in Oklahoma. Those convicted could spend up to four years in prison, or pay a fine of up to $5,000, or both.

What is Child Abuse in Tulsa?

Child abuse laws in Oklahoma prohibit both the perpetration of abuse upon a child and enabling another to perform acts of abuse on a child. Child abuse is a much more serious crime than child endangerment in the eyes of the law.

In Oklahoma, child abuse is defined as harming or threatening harm to a child’s health, safety, or welfare by a person responsible for the child. This includes non-accidental physical or mental injury, sexual abuse, or neglect. Okla. Stat. tit. 10A § 1-1-105

Oklahoma law prohibits an adult from abusing, neglecting, committing any sexual abuse upon, or exploiting a child. The crime is a felony punishable by up to a year in county jail, or a fine between $500 and $5,000, or both. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 843.5.

However, if the child involved is under 12 years of age, the adult could face at least 25 years in prison.

The statute covers varied types of abuse, including:

Neglect: The failure to provide adequate food, shelter, clothing, medical care, supervision, or other necessities of life.

Physical Abuse: The non-accidental physical injury of a child under the age of 18.

Sexual Abuse: All sexual activity with a child including the propositioning of a child to engage in sexual contact.

Mental or Emotional Abuse: Emotional injury to a child sustained through continued rejection, criticism, isolation, or exploitation.

Depending on the circumstances, if convicted, you could spend the rest of your life in prison.

Free Consultation: Tulsa Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are being charged with a crime in Oklahoma, it is important that you hire an experienced Tulsa criminal defense attorney. Criminal convictions can carry serious consequences.

Only a local attorney will know the court system and judges in the area. Do not delay. Our initial consultation is free.

Call Wirth Law Office – Tulsa at 918-879-1681 or toll free at 1-888-Wirth-Law (1-888-947-8452). You can also submit the question form at the top right of this page.

We pride ourselves on providing our clients with excellent representation at reasonable prices.

"Make law easy!"