California Penal Code Section 273(a): Child Endangerment is designed to punish individuals who put children in harm’s way. Many individuals sometimes refer to child endangerment as child abuse, but these are two separate charges that have different penalties.
However, both child endangerment and child abuse may be considered domestic violence in Los Angeles. As such, individuals convicted of child endangerment can face harsh penalties, including fines and jail time.
It is important to treat child endangerment charges seriously. Learning more about the definition of child endangerment and the penalties for this charge can be important if you need to build a defense for PC 273(a). The Simmrin Law Group can provide you with professional legal advice after a child endangerment allegation.
Defining the Act of Child Endangerment
Child endangerment occurs if someone:
- Intentionally Inflicts Physical Pain or Mental Suffering
- Causes Physical Pain or Mental Suffering
- Allows Physical Pain or Mental Suffering to Occur
In order for child endangerment charges to apply, the pain or suffering a child experiences must be unjustifiable. Actions that are considered a part of reasonable discipline are not seen as child endangerment.
Individuals in Los Angeles must behave in a criminally negligent way in order to be convicted of child endangerment. Criminal negligence involves:
- Acting Recklessly and in a Way Ordinary People Would Not Act
- Showing Disregard for the Lives of Others
- Showing Indifference to Possible Consequences
If an individual does something a reasonable person would know was dangerous to others, they could be displaying criminal negligence. Any act of criminal negligence can lead to child endangerment charges.
Penalties for PC 273(a): Child Endangerment
Individuals who are convicted of child endangerment may be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on their situation.
Misdemeanor child endangerment occurs if a child does not face a high risk of death or bodily harm. Convictions for misdemeanor child endangerment can lead to:
- Up to $1,000 in Fines
- Up to 1 Year of Jail Time
- Parenting Classes
More serious cases of child endangerment can put children at risk for severe harm or even death. Felony charges can be used for these cases. A felony child endangerment conviction can result in:
- Up to $10,000 in Fines
- Up to 6 Years of Prison Time
The most serious instances of child endangerment can result in a death. Individuals who cause the death of a child could face far more serious charges, including murder. California may sentence individuals to life in prison or even the death penalty for a murder conviction. Getting help right away is very important if you are facing these charges.
Understanding Child Endangerment Defenses
Child endangerment charges do not have to be simply accepted. There are legal defenses that may be able to help individuals charged with PC 273(a). You can find out which defenses might work for you by contacting a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer today.
Some common examples of defenses against child endangerment charges include arguing:
You Were Falsely Accused
Many accusations of child endangerment are made during divorce proceedings. Some parents try to win custody of their children by making false claims against their former spouse. A criminal defense lawyer may be able to help you beat these accusations.
You Did Not Use Unreasonable Force
Parents in California are legally allowed to physically discipline their children. A lawyer could argue that you did not endanger your child when carrying out a disciplinary action.
The Endangerment was Accidental
Child endangerment involves intentional actions that cause harm to a child. If a child is harmed by accident or by acts outside of your control, you could be able to argue against child endangerment charges.
Getting Help with Child Endangerment Charges
The penalties associated with California Penal Code Section 273(a): Child Endangerment can be incredibly harsh. Beating a child endangerment accusation can be difficult without professional legal support on your side. Fortunately, you can start getting the legal advice you need right now with a FREE case evaluation from the Simmrin Law Group.
Learn more about how a criminal defense lawyer can protect you from child endangerment charges by calling (310) 997- 4688 or filling out our online contact form.