This guide will provide you with the laws applicable to Child Endangerment and Defenses
Laws relating to Child Endangerment and what the prosecution must prove.
To prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of violating child endangerment or child neglect laws, the prosecution must prove that:
You did one of the following:
Willfully inflicted unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering on a child;
Willfully caused or permitted a child to suffer unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering;
Caused or permitted a child in your care or custody to be injured; or
Caused or permitted a child in your custody to be placed in a dangerous situation.
You acted under circumstances that were likely to produce great bodily injury or death
You were criminally negligent. You can be found to be criminally negligent if:
You acted in a reckless way that created a high risk of death or great bodily injury; and
A reasonable person would have known that acting that way would probably result in harm to another person.
You did not act reasonably while disciplining the child
Defenses to Child Endangerment
What are the Defenses to a Child Endangerment Charge?
There are many viable defenses to a child endangerment charge. An experienced attorney can review your case to provide the strongest possible defense to the charges you are facing. Defenses include, but are not limited to:
In the state of California, a parent is permitted to discipline his/her child, as long as the disciplinary act is reasonable. "Reasonableness" is determined by the following factors:
Whether the punishment was warranted; and
Whether the punishment was excessive under the circumstances. The jury will review the circumstances of your case to determine whether the disciplinary act constitutes reasonable discipline.
The Child's Age
The victim in a child endangerment case must be under the age of 18. You cannot be convicted of child endangerment if the victim is 18 years old or older.
The Act Was Not Willful
If your actions were not done on purpose, you cannot be convicted of child endangerment. For example, if a parent's violent ex-partner took a baby without the parent's consent, said parent is not guilty of violating child endangerment laws because the parent did not willfully place the baby in the dangerous situation.
There Was No Criminal Negligence
Criminal negligence must be proven for a child endangerment conviction. However, if the action on which a child endangerment charge is based was due to ordinary carelessness, inattention or a mistake in judgment, then the act is not criminally negligent, regardless of the consequences.
Many child endangerment charges stem from contentious divorce and custody battles. False accusations and wrongful arrests can result when:
A child makes up a false allegation for one of many possible reasons
Spouses, partners, ex-spouses, ex-partners and in-laws make false allegations driven by jealousy, anger, revenge, or to attempt to gain advantage in a child custody matter
In the state of California, certain groups of professionals including doctors, teachers, social workers, nurses, school administrators and clergy are required by law to report any suspected instances of child endangerment, abuse or neglect. As a result, they may jump to conclusions and make accusations against you without knowing the full extent of the circumstances involved. Therefore it is important to retain an experienced attorney as soon as possible to fight for you.
California Child Endangerment Lawyers - PC 273a
Are You Seeking a Child Endangerment Attorney in California?
In the state of California, crimes involving children are prosecuted very aggressively. A child endangerment conviction in California can change your life completely. Upon conviction, you could face up to six years in state prison, a $10,000 fine and loss of child custody.
California's all-encompassing child endangerment laws not only cover physical pain and suffering, but mental suffering as well. Parents and legal guardians are often accused of child endangerment. Teachers and coaches are also commonly accused based upon their disciplinary actions. If you or a loved one is experiencing these charges contact an experienced attorney that is familiar with cases.
Additional resources provided by the author
There are many resources online but you are best guided by contacting an attorney immediately even before you start to speak with officers, detectives and investigators.
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