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My son left his 3 kids in the car to grab a gallon of milk and was ticketed for wanton endangerment. What is likely to happen.

Louisville, KY |
Attorney answers 3


He should contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible as these charges are very serious and he certainly does not want them on his record. There are two degrees of Wanton Endangerment but I'm guessing your son was charged in the second degree. That reads as follows:

508.070 Wanton endangerment in the second degree.
(1) A person is guilty of wanton endangerment in the second degree when he wantonly engages in conduct which creates a substantial danger of physical injury to another person.
(2) Wanton endangerment in the second degree is a Class A misdemeanor.
Effective: January 1, 1975
History: Created 1974 Ky. Acts ch. 406, sec. 71, effective January 1, 1975.

Class A misdemeanors are punishable by up to a year in jail as well as fines and court costs. Contact an attorney as soon as possible.


Is your son charged with Wanton Endangerment 1st degree or 2nd degree? If he does not have a criminal record, he may be eligible for a pretrial diversion program. Upon successful completion of a pretrial diversion program and all of the requirements of the court, the charge would be dismissed.

For similar cases (although the facts are typically worse than in your son's case), I usually see defendants charged with Endangering the Welfare of a Minor (as opposed to Wanton Endangerment) in District Court and the charge is sometimes (but not always) accompanied by a petition filed in Family Court by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services for dependency, neglect or abuse (DNA) of a child (The goal of a DNA proceeding in Family Court is to protect and care for the child. DNA proceedings are not criminal proceedings, so it is unlikely that the parent would be incarcerated, fined, or put on probation as a result, but the parent could have to pay for and attend some treatment or parenting classes, etc. and could potentially go to jail if they fail to comply with the orders of the Court. It is possible to have a DNA case for the child in Family Court AND a criminal case against the parent who allegedly harmed the child in either District or Circuit Court.)

530.060 Endangering welfare of minor.
(1) A parent, guardian or other person legally charged with the care or custody of a minor is guilty of endangering the welfare of a minor when he fails or refuses to exercise reasonable diligence in the control of such child to prevent him from becoming a neglected, dependent or delinquent child.
(2) Endangering the welfare of a minor is a Class A misdemeanor.

Kristin M. Russell is an attorney licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Per Avvo guidelines, these answers are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. This response does not create an attorney/client relationship.


Your son needs to hire a criminal defense attorney in Louisville ASAP. There is a felony charge of Wanton Endangerment I and a Misdemeanor charge of Wanton Endangerment II. Get counsel.

I am trying to give you a general answer to your question. We do not have an attorney-client relationship by this response on the avvo website. I have not been retained to represent you. I am licensed to practice law in Kentucky and in federal court in this state and the Southern District of Indiana. You need to seek legal advice from an attorney licensed to practice in your area..