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Endangering the Welfare of a Child (EWOC)

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If I have never been arrested and now I am charged with Endangering the Welfare of a Child (hereinafter “EWOC”) can I go to jail?

In Pennsylvania, there are sentencing guidelines that are supposed to guide the judge in determining the range of applicable sentence that would be appropriate. Two factors are considered: 1. your prior convictions; and 2. the gravity of the current case.

EWOC can be one of two different crimes, both similar to domestic violence. EWOC as a misdemeanor of the first degree is a single occurrence where you did something that put the child in danger. An example would be leaving a 2 year old home alone so that you could go to the store, or go to your dealers house to buy pot. In this instance, unless the underlying act was absolutely horrible, I can’t see many judges giving you jail time, but remember in PA sentencing is discretionary.

EWOC as a felony of the third degree is a ‘continuing course of conduct’ detrimental to the child’s welfare. This means that the occurrence happens over and over again. For example, turning a blind eye while you husband (the 8 year old’s step dad) rapes her over and over again because he keeps supplying you with crystal meth; or getting a second or third DUI with the kid in the car seat, where each DUI involved a kid in the car; or getting a fourth or fifth ticket with the kid not in a car seat. In this instance you absolutely can get jail time or house arrest depending on the seriousness of the act. If the acts involve sex or pornography, I think you could get some time.

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