Parents in the state of California are legally entitled to raise their children as they see fit, up to a point. All parents must provide basic necessities to their child. Failure to properly care for a child can lead to charges under California Penal Code Section 270: Failure to Provide Care/Child Neglect.
You can get more information about PC 270 violations right here. The Simmrin Law Group can help you go over the definition of this charge and the results of a conviction. You can also focus on several legal defenses for failure to provide care/child neglect.
Failure to Provide Care/Child Neglect: Legal Definition in California
Parents in California may be charged under PC 270 if they willfully and without lawful excuse fail to provide their children with the necessities. Let us further break down the terms used in failure to provide care/child neglect charges.
California has a legal definition for ‘necessities’ that includes items that meet a child’s physical needs. Examples of necessities can include:
- Food and Water
- Medical Care
- Remedial Care
Individuals are considered parents if they have a biological or adopted offspring. This applies if an individual is:
- Married to the Child’s Other Parent
- Divorced from the Child’s Other Parent
- Not in a Relationship with the Child’s Other Parent
Note that individuals can be considered parents in California before their child is born. Individuals are still required to provide necessary care for unborn children.
Defining Remedial Care
Remedial care represents spiritual treatments for medical conditions. Some parents do not accept traditional medicine and turn to faith healing. This care must be offered by individuals connected to recognize:
- Religious Denominations
Failure to Provide Care/Child Neglect: Penalties for a Conviction
PC 270 can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony in California’s court system. Misdemeanor charges are more common and they are less severe. The penalties for a misdemeanor failure to provide care/child neglect charge can include:
- Jail Time of Up to One Year
- Fines of Up $2,000
Felony charges are typically only used if the parent is involved in a paternity suit. Individuals who are legally found to be a child’s father and then charged with failure to provide care/child neglect may face the following penalties for a felony conviction:
- Jail Time of Up to One Year
- Prison Time of Up to One Year
- Fines of Up to $2,000
As you can see, the penalties for either a misdemeanor or a felony PC 270 conviction can be very similar. Note that harsher criminal charges may be used to prosecute individuals who intentionally harm a minor, instead of engaging in neglect. Acts of domestic abuse could be prosecuted under:
- California Penal Code Section 273(a): Child Endangerment
- California Penal Code Section 273(d): Child Abuse/Inflicting Physical Punishment On A Child
Failure to Provide Care/Child Neglect: Legal Defenses
A criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles can help you go over your legal options if you are charged with failure to provide care/child neglect. Your lawyer may be able to show that:
You Didn’t Willfully Violate PC 270
You must act intentionally to violate PC 270. Individuals who did not realize they needed to provide care for their child should not be convicted. You may also avoid PC 270 charges if you wanted to provide care, put forth your best efforts, and could not.
You Couldn’t Afford to Provide Care
Sometimes, the care your child needs simply exceeds your means, especially if your child requires medical treatment. Individuals who do their best to find work and simply cannot provide care should not be convicted under PC 270, as this represents a lawful excuse for failure to provide care.
You Weren’t the Child’s Parent
Only individuals who are legally responsible for a child are required to provide the child with care. If a child is not biologically yours, or if the child was legally adopted by someone else, you may be able to avoid a PC 270 conviction.
A Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help with PC 270 Charges
You have legal options for handling California Penal Code Section 270: Failure to Provide Care/Child Neglect accusations. You can go over legal defenses today with the Simmrin Law Group. Contact our criminal defense lawyers in Los Angeles now by completing our online contact form, or calling
Take steps to protect your future by reaching out to us for a FREE case evaluation.