What is Child Endangerment? California Penal Code Section 273a

By: Wallin & Klarich

Children can be a handful and they do require constant care and attention. It is not humanly possible, however, for a parent to be 100% attentive and aware of their children. Nonetheless, it is a criminal offense known as child endgangerment to place a child in a situation that will endanger its mental, emotional, or physical well-being.

If you place a child in a dangerous situation without taking steps to ensure the child’s safety, you can face misdemeanor or felony charges – even if the child never actually suffers any harm.

Obviously, you can incur this charge if you brutally beat or shake an infant (or leave the infant in the care of a violent person who endangers the infant). You can also incur this charge by leaving your child in a locked car on a hot day or by leaving your child alone in the house where there is easy access to dangerous chemicals and appliances.

In other words, you can be charged with child endangerment for being “criminally negligent,” or acting in a way that shows that you simply did not care about the safety of human life. This would be true even if you did not intend to injure or harm anyone.

A child endangerment is a wobbler that can be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor. You can potentially serve a jail sentence of up to one year in county jail or up to six years in state prison. A felony child endangerment conviction may also result in a strike pursuant to California’s Three Strike law.

California also has a body of Child Abuse laws that make it a crime to directly inflict pain upon a child. If you personally inflict physical pain on a child, you can face both child endangerment and child abuse charges.

In any case, Child Endangerment is a serious charge that calls for the skill and expertise of a criminal defense attorney. At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have been in practice for over 30 years and can help you achieve the best possible outcome. Call us today at 877-230-1528 or visit us online at www.wklaw.com. We will be there for you when you call.

Posted In: Child Endangerment