Los Angeles Child Endangerment Attorney
In California, child endangerment is very broadly defined. Obviously, causing an injury to a child “endangers” the child, but the law is controversial. You can be charged with child endangerment in situations where you aren’t even violating a law – if you’re disciplining your own child, for example. If you are suspected or accused of child endangerment in southern California, consult with an experienced Los Angeles child endangerment attorney as quickly as possible. At the Miranda Rights Law Firm in Los Angeles, our lawyers have more than a decade of criminal defense experience, and we are ready to work for you.
CHILD ENDANGERMENT IN CALIFORNIA
When a person engages in conduct that places a child in imminent danger of death, bodily injury, or physical or mental impairment, child endangerment charges are usually sought. The focus of the crime is the potential for harm or injury to a child. Child endangerment charges are in place to discourage parental conduct which could lead to possible injury or harm to a youngster, including parents, grand-parents, teachers, and daycare workers.
Child endangerment charges do not always stem from an intentional act but can also include neglect, failure, or refusal to do something that is in the child’s best interest. Doing drugs in front of children puts the child in imminent danger. However, child endangerment charges must include evidence that there was a real threat posed to the child.
The definition of imminent danger tends to be argued. What one parent or caregiver sees as acceptable another might see as endangering a child. For this reason, charges can be either a misdemeanor or felony and the degree of punishment can vary greatly.
Punishment could include probation, parenting classes, counseling, and restrictions on access to the child. California requires the completion of an extensive parenting class. Child endangerment could also include prison time. Almost always, child protective services will become involved. Their investigation will weigh heavily on what the courts decide and your child custody may also be affected.
Child endangerment can be raised to a felony level if the state can prove intent and assess the degree of risk. Negligent or reckless child endangerment is typically prosecuted as a misdemeanor, but if it was willful or intentional, it could be charged as a felony. The punishment for felony child endangerment ranges from two to twenty years in prison. Sometimes, individuals convicted of a first offense can get probation with the help of a good Los Angeles child endangerment attorney.
Child endangerment is a serious charge and should not be taken lightly. If you have been charged with endangerment in California you need the expertise of an experienced lawyer to help you, one that specializes in family law and criminal law.
CHILDREN AND CARS
The law in California – “Kaitlyn’s Law” – was enacted in 2002 following the death of 6-month-old Kaitlyn Marie Russell. Leaving a child unsupervised in a motor vehicle is a violation in California, and you can be fined $100. However, if a child is injured while unattended in a vehicle, or if “medical services are rendered on that child,” the charge could be child endangerment. If you face either charge in the Los Angeles area this summer, arrange at once to speak with an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney.
Cars heat up more rapidly than you might think. Left in the southern California summer sun, a vehicle’s interior temperature can rise by as much as 20 degrees in less than ten minutes. When it’s 85 degrees outside, a vehicle’s interior can reach 120 degrees in less than an hour. But without regard to the weather or to the length of time you need to be away from your vehicle, leaving a child in a vehicle is very risky. Even the best of parents can overlook a sleeping baby in a vehicle, but the end result could be tragic. The best advice is simply don’t do it.
Leaving your child in the car unattended could lead to child endangerment charges. If you are facing criminal charges, including a violation of Kaitlyn’s law in the Los Angeles area, or if you are a parent with questions concerning child abuse, neglect and other related legal matters, contact our experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys today.
Additionally, driving recklessly with a child in the vehicle or driving under the influence of alcohol with a child in the car can lead to serious endangerment charges.
What is considered “reasonable” parental discipline, and what is child abuse in California? It’s a controversial topic and everyone has an opinion, but California has a law.
California law recognizes and honors parental rights, and a certain level of physical punishment is allowed. However, if the physical aspect of the punishment is excessive or egregious, a parent may face criminal charges under California Penal Code 273(d). Here’s how the law reads: “Any person who willfully inflicts upon a child any cruel or inhuman corporal punishment or an injury resulting in a traumatic condition is guilty of a felony.”
What is “cruel or inhuman” corporal punishment? There’s no hard-and-fast definition; the courts examine each case on an individual basis. If the child has been injured, the court will consider the extent of the injury and the events that led up to it. Cruel and inhuman corporal punishment may include: hitting, punching, slapping, or kicking a child; pushing, shaking, choking, or burning a child; or throwing an object at a child.
Spanking – even with a paddle – is not illegal in California and this action is not considered cruel or inhuman, but if the victim suffers visible injury, the prosecutor may opt to pursue criminal charges.
WE DISCREDIT FALSE ALLEGATIONS
Child endangerment is not exclusively about direct physical harm to children. You can also be charged with child endangerment for allowing a child to needlessly suffer, neglecting a child’s health or allowing a child’s health or safety to be imperiled, or imposing any form of mental torture, suffering, or cruelty. Even false child sexual abuse allegations can arise on occasion.
Prosecutors can be quite zealous to convict “monsters who hurt little kids,” and sometimes discipline can be misinterpreted or twisted to seem much worse than it really was. If you’re charged with endangerment, it’s imperative to have the help of an experienced Los Angeles child endangerment attorney who will work hard to discredit the prosecutor’s allegations. Penalties for those convicted of child endangerment can vary depending on a number of factors, but if you’re convicted, do not expect the court to offer leniency. For an endangerment conviction, jail time is a real possibility.
YOUR FIRST APPOINTMENT IS FREE
If you’ve been charged with child endangerment, put an experienced Los Angeles child endangerment attorney to work for you. After examining your case, Douglas Miranda will explain your legal options and work to develop the most effective possible defense. At the Miranda Rights Law Firm, we take our responsibility to our clients seriously, and we put our experience to work for you. To schedule a free consultation with an experienced Los Angeles child endangerment attorney, contact us today. Send an email, or call 213-293-1207. Se habla español.