Criminal Law Questions? Ask a Criminal Lawyer.
HelloThis is Samuel and I will discuss this and provide you information in this regard.
I suggest the crime is a 4th degree and as such Fourth degree crimes carry a potential penalty of up to 18 months in jail.
Here is a link you can read the Code and it states:9:6-3. Cruelty and neglect of children; crime of fourth degree; remedies 9:6-3. Any parent, guardian or person having the care, custody or control of any child, who shall abuse, abandon, be cruel to or neglectful of such child, or any person who shall abuse, be cruel to or neglectful of any child shall be deemed to be guilty of a crime of the fourth degree. If a fine be imposed, the court may direct the same to be paid in whole or in part to the parent, or to the guardian, custodian or trustee of such minor child or children; provided, however, that whenever in the judgment of the court it shall appear to the best interest of the child to place it in the temporary care or custody of a society or corporation, organized or incorporated under the laws of this State, having as one of its objects the prevention of cruelty to children, and the society or corporation is willing to assume such custody and control, the court may postpone sentence and place the child in the custody of such society or corporation, and may place defendant on probation, either with the county probation officers or an officer of the society or corporation to which the child is ordered, and may order the parent, guardian or person having the custody and control of such child to pay to such society or corporation a certain stated sum for the maintenance of such child. When, however, a child is so placed in the custody of such society or corporation, and defendant fails to make the payments as ordered by the court, the court shall cause the arrest and arraignment before it of such defendant, and shall impose upon the defendant the penalty provided in this section.
Because there is a potential and the law allows a judge to impose a jail sentence if found guilty, I suggest you should at least consider a consultation with a local attorney.
In addition, the code also allows the court to take the child and place it with the Child Protective Services.I am not privy to all of your details and so you ask if you should have a local attorney with you in court and I suggest you should consider it.