Child Endangerment Law in California

child endangerement

Under California Law, it is a crime to endanger the health or life of a child through an adult’s recklessness or indifference. Parents, guardians and caregivers have to take care of a child and this legal responsibility consists of ensuring that child is free from unreasonably dangerous situations. When they fail to accomplish adequate protection of a child, the crime, known as “child endangerment” can occur. Thus, child endangerment can happen if a parent, a guardian, or a caregiver willfully causes or permits that child to be placed in a situation where his or her person or health is endangered. It should be mentioned that California laws differs California Child Endangerment from a crime of the Child Abuse in California.

Below, we invite you to find out the main elements of the California Child Endangerment definition as well as we are ready to provide answers to your initial questions concerning attempted murder charges in California for free.

1. California Child Endangerment Laws
2. Legal Defenses to California Child Endangerment
3. Penalties for California Child Endangerment
4. Related Offences

1. California Child Endangerment Laws

According to California Penal Code 273(a) PC, any person who under circumstances or conditions likely to produce great bodily harm or death is guilty of California child endangerment under the condition that he or she:

  • willfully causes or permits any child to suffer,
  • or inflicts thereon unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering,
  • or having the care or custody of any child

a) willfully causes or permits the person or health of that child to be injured,
b) or willfully causes or permits that child to be placed in a situation where his or her person or health is endangered.

A lot of acts can lead to the child endangerment conviction. Any number of dangerous activities can be applied for proving the act of committing of the crime. Some common examples of conduct including in the child endangerment are:

  • driving under the influence
  • involving a child in drugs transportation, sale or even manufacture
  • leaving a young child without proper supervision and unattended
  • bodily injury resulted from unreasonable corporal punishment
  • Etc.

2. Legal Defenses to California Child Endangerment

An experienced and professional California defense attorney can use various legal defenses in order to dismiss the charge. Below, we represent some of them.

3. Penalties for California Child Endangerment

Child endangerment may be either a felony or a misdemeanor, that is to say it is a “wobbler”. The charge depends on the criminal history of the person as well as specific circumstances of the offense. The difference between charges is upon whether a significant harm occurred to child or it was just a dangerous situation.

In the table below, we represent the main penalties for California misdemeanor and felony child endangerment charges.

Misdemeanor Child Endangerment Felony Child Endangerment
  • Imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one (1) year
  • a fine up to $1000
  • and/or informal probation
  • informal probation (otherwise known as “summary” probation) for a minimum of four (4) years under the following conditions:
    a) A mandatory minimum period of probation of 48 months
    b) A criminal court protective order protecting the victim from further acts of violence or threats, and, if appropriate, residence exclusion or stay-away conditions
    c) Successful completion of no less than one year of a child abuser’s treatment counseling program approved by the probation department.
    d) If the offense was committed while the defendant was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the defendant shall abstain from the use of drugs or alcohol during the period of probation and should be subjected to random drug testing by his or her probation officer.
  • sentencing of two (2), four (4), or six (6) years in California state prison
  • a fine up to $1000
  • and/or informal probation under the same conditions as the misdemeanor conviction
  • Moreover, if the child was killed in result of your criminal negligence or in any other way, you can face accusations from manslaughter to murder.NOTE: under California law, a felony conviction with great bodily injury will result in a “strike” on your criminal record.

It should be taken into consideration that a child endangerment conviction is a very serious issue. It may result in various criminal penalties like the potential loss of parental rights. If a parent or legal guardian is convicted of child endangerment, it can be applied restriction or even revocation of parental rights. In this case, whether the other parent will take care of the child, or, if there is no other parent, the court will appoint a new legal guardian for the child and until it he or she will be placed under state child service agency control.

4. Related Offences

California Child Abuse
Lewd Acts with a minor
DUI

Have you faced accusations of Child Endangerment in California? The Margarian Law Firm aggressively protects the rights of criminal defendants in California. We are a client-centered professional law firm. You can always contact us in order to discuss your specific case and get your legal assistance. All information entrusted us will be confidential and private.

You may file your request online, by telephone or by mail. 818-553-1000

 

 

California Penal Code 273(a) PC

273a. (a) Any person who, under circumstances or conditions likely to produce great bodily harm or death, willfully causes or permits any child to suffer, or inflicts thereon unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering, or having the care or custody of any child, willfully causes or permits the person or health of that child to be injured, or willfully causes or permits that child to be placed in a situation where his or her person or health is endangered, shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or in the state prison for two, four, or six years.
(b) Any person who, under circumstances or conditions other than those likely to produce great bodily harm or death, willfully causes or permits any child to suffer, or inflicts thereon unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering, or having the care or custody of any child, willfully causes or permits the person or health of that child to be injured, or willfully causes or permits that child to be placed in a situation where his or her person or health may be endangered, is guilty of a misdemeanor.
(c) If a person is convicted of violating this section and probation is granted, the court shall require the following minimum conditions of probation:
(1) A mandatory minimum period of probation of 48 months.
(2) A criminal court protective order protecting the victim from further acts of violence or threats, and, if appropriate, residence exclusion or stay-away conditions.
(3) (A) Successful completion of no less than one year of a child abuser’s treatment counseling program approved by the probation department. The defendant shall be ordered to begin participation in the program immediately upon the grant of probation. The counseling program shall meet the criteria specified in Section 273.1. The defendant shall produce documentation of program enrollment to the court within 30 days of enrollment, along with quarterly progress reports.
(B) The terms of probation for offenders shall not be lifted until all reasonable fees due to the counseling program have been paid in full, but in no case shall probation be extended beyond the term provided in subdivision (a) of Section 1203.1. If the court finds that the defendant does not have the ability to pay the fees based on the defendant’s changed circumstances, the court may reduce or waive the fees.
(4) If the offense was committed while the defendant was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the defendant shall abstain from the use of drugs or alcohol during the period of probation and shall be subject to random drug testing by his or her probation officer.
(5) The court may waive any of the above minimum conditions of probation upon a finding that the condition would not be in the best interests of justice. The court shall state on the record its reasons for any waiver.

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