What circumstances may an individual be guilty of a crime by failing to act?

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There is a lot of variation here from state to state, but here are four general situations. (1) If there is a duty imposed by statute, e.g. failure to render aid at the scene of an accident or leaving the scene of an accident tends to be a crime in many states.
(2) Close Relationship - a mother tends to have a duty to act to help her child. This is the basis for child neglect crimes. This does not necessarily have to be familial.
(3) Contractual Duty - a good example of this is a daycare provider and a child. Daycare providers have an affirmative duty to protect the kids they are contracted to care for and there may be a crime by omission in these cases.
(4) Voluntary Undertaking - it might well be a crime to begin to help someone and then not follow through. You can't pick up an injured person purporting to take them to the hospital and then just dump them on the side of the road half way there.
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