Failing to provide support for your child may lead to a criminal conviction and subsequent imprisonment. According to New York Penal Law § 260.06, to be charged with first-degree non-support of a child, you must have a prior conviction for second-degree non-support of a child within the last five years, and you fall into one of the following categories:
- You are a parent, guardian, or an individual legally responsible for the care and custody of a child under 16 years of age and fail to fulfill this duty without a valid excuse.
- You are a parent, guardian, or someone legally obligated to make child support payments based on a court order for a child under 18 years of age, and you fail to do so without a lawful excuse.
First-degree non-support of a child is categorized as a Class E felony, which, upon conviction, may result in a maximum prison sentence of 4 years or a potential probation period lasting up to 5 years.
To secure a successful prosecution for first-degree non-support of a child, the prosecutor must establish your ability to pay child support while demonstrating your unwillingness to do so. If a valid and legal reason exists for your failure to make payments, it means you have not contravened the statute.
New York Penal Law § 260.06: Non-support of a child in the first degree
A person commits the offense of first-degree non-support of a child under the following circumstances:
- (a) If they are a parent, guardian, or another individual legally responsible for the care or custody of a child under the age of sixteen, and they neglect or decline to provide support for that child without a valid excuse, when they are financially capable of doing so; or (b) If they are a parent, guardian, or another individual obligated to make child support payments as per a court-issued child support order for a child under the age of eighteen, and they fail to provide support for the child without a lawful excuse, despite being financially capable of doing so; and
- If they have a prior conviction within the preceding five years for a crime outlined in § 260.05 of this article or a crime as defined in the provisions of this section.
- Non-support of a child in the second degree: New York Penal Law § 260.05
- Abandonment of a child: New York Penal Law § 260.00
Hiring a New York Lawyer for Non-support of a child in the first degree case
When facing a first-degree non-support of a child case in New York, hiring a qualified lawyer is crucial. This serious offense can result in severe penalties, including imprisonment. A skilled attorney will assess your case’s specifics, offering guidance and legal expertise. They’ll investigate the circumstances surrounding the non-support and build a strong defense, ensuring your rights are protected. They can negotiate with prosecutors to potentially reduce charges or penalties. In court, they will advocate on your behalf, presenting evidence and arguments in your favor. By retaining a New York lawyer experienced in child support cases, you enhance your chances of a favorable outcome and safeguard your future.