Are you facing Child Endangerment charges in Los Angeles?
Pursuant to California Penal Code Section 273(a) child endangerment is defined as willfully placing a child in a dangerous situation. The child does not have to actually be harmed (however they may be) for you to be found guilty of child endangerment. This crime is distinct from child abuse which is charged under Penal Code Section 273(d), and requires that you actually harm the child.
Child endangerment is most commonly charged when a child is in the car during a DUI, or you are arrested for public intoxication under California Penal Code Section 647(f) or being under the influence of a controlled substance under Health and Safety Code Section 11550 with your child present, or in the vicinity. This charge also frequently comes up when people leave an infant or young child in a locked car in the sun.
Child endangerment is a misdemeanor offense unless the child is at risk of great bodily injury or death. If this is the case child endangerment becomes a “wobbler” offense. This means that it can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor at the discretion of the prosecutor.
If you or a loved one has been charged with child endangerment in Los Angeles, or surrounding counties, contact experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Miles Booth at 424 272 1134.
Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer Miles Booth
How does the prosecution prove that I am guilty of child endangerment?
Misdemeanor Child Endangerment
To be found guilty of misdemeanor child endangerment under California Penal Code Section 273(a) the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that;
- You willfully did one of the following;
- Inﬂicted unjustiﬁable physical pain or mental suffering on a child, OR
- Caused or permitted a child to suffer unjustiﬁable physical pain or mental suffering, OR
- Caused or permitted a child in your care to be injured, OR
- Caused or permitted a child in your care to be placed in a situation where the child’s person or health was endangered;
- You were criminally negligent when you caused or permitted the child to be injured, or endangered or suffer;
- If you are the minor’s parent you were not reasonably disciplining your child
Felony Child Endangerment
Child endangerment is a “wobbler” offense which means that it can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor at the discretion of the prosecutor. In order to be convicted of felony child endangerment the prosecutor must also prove beyond a reasonable doubt, in addition to the element listed above, that;
- You caused or permitted the child to suffer, or be injured or endangered under circumstances or conditions likely to produce great bodily injury or death;
Lets take a closer look at how the court defines these elements;
A person acts willfully when they do something on purpose or willingly. You do not need to know that the act was illegal or even intend that it cause injury to be deemed to have acted willfully.
For example, out of convenience, Sarah leaves her 3 year old son in the car for ten minutes while she runs into the store. She cracks the window, but the car gets extremely hot and the child turns red a starts screaming. Sarah did not intend to hurt her son, but she willfully left him in the car. This is enough for her to be charged with child endangerment.
A child is any person under 18 years old.
Great Bodily Injury (“GBI”)
Great bodily injury is considered signiﬁcant or substantial physical injury. It is considered any injury that is greater than minor or moderate harm.
Unjustiﬁable Physical Pain or Mental Suffering
This is any pain or suffering that is excessive or is not reasonably necessary under the circumstances.
Criminal negligence is more than ordinary carelessness, lack of attention or a lapse in judgment. Criminal negligence occurs when:
- Your actions amount to a disregard for human life or indifference to the consequences of you actions;
- A reasonable person would have known that acting in that way would likely result in harm to others.
How can I defend myself against Child Endangerment Charges?
Being charged with child endangerment can be shocking, especially if it is the result of something that you perceive to be minor and no one was harmed. A Los Angeles criminal defense attorney can help you defend yourself, and protect your reputation and freedom. Some of the most common legal defenses to a child endangerment charge are that;
- You did not act willfully, or tour actions did not rise to the level of criminal negligence
- You were falsely accused
- You were acting within your rights to reasonably discipline your child
Just because you have been accused of child endangerment does not mean that you will be convicted. Call Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Miles Booth to discuss how to best defend your case.
What are the Penalties for Child Endangerment Charges?
Child endangerment will be charged as a misdemeanor unless the child is at risk of great bodily injury or death. If this is the case child endangerment becomes a “wobbler” offense. This means that the prosecutor can charge it as a felony or a misdemeanor.
A Misdemeanor Child Endangerment conviction may result in;
- up to one year in county jail,
- a $6,000 fine, and/or
- misdemeanor probation
A Felony Child Endangerment conviction may result in up to;
- 2, 4, or 6 years in California state prison,
- a $6,000 fine, and/or
- felony probation
If felony or misdemeanor probation is granted a protective order will be issued for the duration of your probation, preventing you from having contact or communication the child. A conviction may also have adverse immigration consequences.
Additionally, if probation is granted the minimum term is 48 months. You will also be required to complete a one-year child abuser’s treatment counseling program.
If the offense was committed while you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you will be required to abstain from alcohol or drugs during the entire term of probation and be subject mandatory drug testing.
Contact Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer miles booth
Facing child endangerment charges can be overwhelming and frightening. A child endangerment charge, let alone conviction, can have far-reaching consequences. Your housing, future job prospects, and most importantly, immediate freedom are in jeopardy.It is foolish to fight these cases alone. It is important to have a skilled criminal defense attorney by your side.
As a former prosecutor Miles Booth understands the complexities of these cases and the blueprints for beating, or substantially mitigating the charges. Miles Booth has successfully handled thousands of cases throughout Los Angeles and will use his experience to get you the best outcome possible.
To learn more about your options going forward, contact Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer, Miles Booth, for a free consultation at 424 272 1134.
- Domestic Battery
- Corporal Injury To Spouse or Cohabitant
- Child Endangerment
- Elder Abuse
- Child Abuse
- Violation of a Restraining Order
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Criminal Defense Lawyer
Contact Miles Booth
Criminal Defense Lawyer
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