Children are among the most vulnerable members of the population, and they deserve to be protected. That is why child endangerment laws are in place. They have been put in place to protect children, and a charge of child endangerment can be severe.
If you or a loved one get charged with child endangerment, it is essential to reach out to a criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible.
That way, you can control the narrative, understand the case against you, and understand your options. There are some situations where you can even get a charge of child endangerment dropped.
What do you need to know about this situation?
First, it is critical to take a closer look at child endangerment laws in California. In California, this charge is covered by California Penal Code 273a PC. It describes as willfully exposing a child to danger, suffering, or pain that is not justifiable.
Remember that the child does not necessarily need to be physically injured for endangerment to occur. The child must get exposed to an unreasonable risk of potential harm or violence. It is also not unusual for a child endangerment charge to accompany domestic violence charges.
There are several examples of child endangerment. Some of the most common examples include the following:
Someone could be charged with child endangerment if they place the child in a dangerous situation. For example, the child may have been placed in a position where drugs are within reasonable reach of the child. The child may be in a situation where he could get exposed to extreme temperatures. One of the most common examples is leaving a child in a hot car.
There are even situations where someone could be charged with child endangerment if they are operating a motor vehicle under the influence with a child in the car. Leaving children in an area where they can access firearms can also be considered child endangerment. Because this charge is so broad, it is critical to work with a criminal defense attorney who understands the nature of the charges against you.
Inflicting intentional injury to a child can also be considered child endangerment. For example, some parents may discipline their children excessively, to the point where they suffer serious injuries. Some parents may use unusual or particularly severe tools to discipline their children, leading to damage.
Keep in mind that other potential charges may accompany child endangerment. For example, some of these examples could even be considered child abuse.
Finally, a child endangerment charge can also stem from a negligence situation. Parents and caregivers are required to provide support for their children. Children cannot fend for themselves and depend on their parents for everything. If a parent is negligent in the care provided to his child, he could get charged with child endangerment.
It could include leaving a child out in the cold, not providing adequate clothing or hygiene, or not providing the child with food. There could be extenuating circumstances in this situation, which is why it is essential to reach out to a defense attorney.
Under the California Penal Code listed above, several potential penalties could stem from a child endangerment charge. A few child endangerment penalties include:
The penalties above are for a misdemeanor charge. Child endangerment can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. If you get convicted of a felony child endangerment charge, some of the potential penalties include the following:
Other penalties could accompany a conviction for child endangerment, so you must reach out to a defense attorney who can help you.
Keep in mind that child endangerment could also mean a “strike” under the three strikes law in California.
Because you have been charged with child endangerment doesn’t mean the case will move forward. There are ways to get your charges dismissed, meaning that you might not have a formal conviction for child endangerment on your record.
You might get the charges dismissed if you can present exculpatory evidence. Exculpatory evidence is considered proof that the crime did not happen.
For example, suppose you have been charged with child endangerment because your child was injured. In that case, you may be able to prove that the injury stemmed from an earlier, unrelated incident entirely out of your control.
You may also be able to negotiate a plea bargain. In a plea bargain, the case is dropped in exchange for something else. For example, if you have a clean criminal record and didn’t harm the child, you may get the prosecution to drop the case in exchange for taking some classes.
It is another situation where you must rely on a defense attorney who can negotiate this for you.
If you are serious about getting your child’s endangerment charges dropped, you need to work with a defense attorney who can represent you. The legal system is murky. Even if you feel like the facts of the case are on your side, you need someone who understands child endangerment laws in California.
A criminal defense attorney can explain your options, work closely with the prosecution, and arrive at the best outcome for you and your interests.
If the case moves forward, there are legal defenses you can use to reduce your chances of a conviction. In this case, you may explain your situation to a judge or jury instead of the prosecutor.
Some of the legal defenses that you may use at trial include:
The case might be moving forward on evidence that could be described as flimsy. Even if there is evidence that the child got hurt or was at risk, the prosecution must prove that you were responsible.
The defense attorney can look at the evidence, poke holes in the case, and provide other possible explanations for how the situation developed. That way, the jury might be hesitant to convict you.
The allegations of child endangerment may also have been false. If you didn’t harm the child physically, and the prosecution is moving forward on a “risk” instead of an actual injury, the case will be much more difficult to prove.
You may be able to provide an alternative explanation for why the child was in the situation. As a result, the child endangerment allegations might not get justified, and the prosecution may have difficulty earning a conviction.
You may also be able to show that the injury was accidental. For a child endangerment case to move forward, the prosecutor may have to prove that the situation was “willful.” If the damage was unexpected, the incident was not intentional, and the jury may not be able to convict you.
You will need to work closely with a criminal defense attorney who can assess the situation and provide an alternative explanation for how the injury happened.
Remember that everything you discuss with your defense attorney remains confidential, so you must be open and honest with your defense attorney. That way, he should provide you with the best possible defense.
One of the most common situations where child endangerment charges may arise is child discipline. Every parent has a different way of disciplining their child, and there are some situations where the punishment may appear harsh.
As a parent, you have the right to discipline your child up to a certain point. Your defense attorney may be able to show the jury that you were exercising your right to discipline the child and raise him in a certain way.
To successfully raise this defense, you need a child endangerment lawyer with experience dealing with child endangerment charges. That is where we can help you.
Child endangerment cases and convictions are severe, so it is critical to reach out to a defense lawyer as soon as possible. At Summit Defense, we are here to provide you with the criminal defense you deserve. You are innocent until proven guilty, and we can work with you to ensure you understand all aspects of your case.
We are here to listen to your situation without judgment or reservation. Contact us today for case consultation, and learn more about how we can protect your rights and defend your interests.
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