The crime of chemical endangerment of a child in Alabama occurs when a responsible person (such as a parent or guardian or anybody who is responsible for the care of the child) either intentionally or recklessly causes or permits the child to be exposed to controlled substances, chemical substances or drug paraphernalia.
The punishment for this crime depends upon the nature of injuries to the child. If the child did not suffer any serious injury the range of punishment is from a year and a day to 10 years in prison but, if the child did suffer serious injury the range of punishment is from 2 to 20 years in prison and in the tragic event that a child has died as a result the punishment is from 10 years to 99 years or life in prison.
Most of the cases chemical endangerment cases I've seen have involved a situation where a mother who has been using an illegal substance gives birth to a child who tests positive for that substance. The other versions of this case that I've seen have been when the police conduct some sort of search warrant or raid in a house in which illegal drugs and children are present.
The defenses to these cases, like any other cases, vary with the specific facts
For example in a case where a child is born the tests positive for an illegal substance as a result of drug abuse by the mother, oftentimes if the mother does not have a significant criminal record an agreement can be reached allowing the mother to attend counseling and to avoid a conviction upon successful completion of counseling.
Because these types of cases tend to vary wildly depending on the facts, it's impossible for me to provide explanations of all of the types of defenses that might work here. My best suggestion is that anyone who is accused of this crime should immediately seek to speak with a qualified and competent criminal defense lawyer. It is important to try to speak with an attorney as quickly as possible because people often make missteps in dealing with the police and can make a bad situation far worse.
Of course, if you're charged with chemical endangerment of a child and you'd like our help, just contact us here: