By Carlos Gamino. Click here for audio version.

Child neglect is a serious crime in Wisconsin, and if you’re charged with it, you need to know that losing custody of your child and prison time are possible penalties. But what counts as child neglect, and what can you do if the state accuses you of it? This guide explains.

What You Need to Know About Child Neglect Charges in Wisconsin

Child neglect is the crime of “failure, refusal or inability on the part of a parent, guardian, legal custodian or other person exercising temporary or permanent control over a child, for reasons other than poverty, to provide necessary care, food, clothing, medical or dental care or shelter so as to seriously endanger the physical health of the child.”

This means that if you’re responsible for a child (even if you’re not the child’s birth parent) and you fail to ensure the child is cared for (again, for reasons other than poverty), the state can find you guilty of a Class A misdemeanor. However, you can be subject to further criminal charges, such as when neglect results in bodily harm or great bodily harm, or when it results in death. Each of those outcomes results in felony charges for you.

Related: Wisconsin laws on child neglect

What Should You Do if You’re Accused of Child Neglect?

If the state of Wisconsin accuses you of child neglect, you may want to get in touch with an attorney as soon as you can. Whether you made a mistake or someone is completely wrong about you, a lawyer may be able to help you. Call our office at 414-383-6700 to schedule your free consultation with an experienced, caring and knowledgeable attorney. We’ll answer your questions and begin developing a strategy that gets you and your children the best possible outcome.

Attorney Carlos Gamino