A guardian has the legal obligation and responsibility to protect children from harm and to provide them with their basic needs, including shelter and nourishment. Having guardianship over a child also means keeping them away from situations that may appear unreasonably dangerous. If an adult fails to look after a child’s well-being, they may face child endangerment charges—which can have some severe consequences in the state of California.
Here’s more about what you should know about endangerment and child abuse charges from Griffin Law Office.
What is Child Endangerment Under the Law?
The California Penal Code defines child endangerment as a criminal act involving instances where an adult willfully places a child in a dangerous situation or where they fail to protect a child from danger. This could, for example, mean failing to exercise due caution that would prevent harm from befalling any minor in an adult’s care. Keep in mind that in the state of California, all individuals under the age of 18 are considered minors and therefore protected under these laws. Common situations tried under this law include the following:
- Leaving a child inside a car on a hot day or otherwise unattended.
- Driving recklessly or while intoxicated while also transporting a minor.
- Assault on a minor or on an adult carrying an infant or child.
- Allowing firearms or illegal substances (including alcohol or narcotics) to be within reach of a child.
- Any form of unreasonable corporal punishment.
What to Expect if You Are Face Endangerment or Abuse of a Minor
Given the serious nature of endangerment or abuse of a minor, it makes sense that the potential consequences of child endangerment charges are often severe.
Some instances of endangerment are tried as misdemeanor cases, mainly if the minor in question received no physical or emotional harm. Such misdemeanor cases are punishable in California by up to one year in county jail. If, however, the child experiences unjustifiable pain, illness or psychological trauma as a result of this act, or if the acts result in death, it may be considered felony child abuse. Those convicted of felony child abuse could face up to six years or more in prison.
Failure to provide child care (i.e., child neglect) is handled somewhat differently under the law, but can also carry severe consequences. Misdemeanor child neglect charges may be punishable by a fine of up to $2000 or one year in prison.
In addition to potentially facing steep fines or time in prison, if found guilty, the act of being charged can irreparably damage your personal and professional reputation. Parental custody or guardianship may also be affected if the alleged harm took place against a child under a parent or legal guardian’s care. Because of this, you should seek experienced legal assistance any time you are facing child abuse or endangerment charges of any kind, no matter the severity.
Who to Contact Regarding Child Abuse or Domestic Violence Charges
Griffin Law Office is a leading legal defense firm for San Diego County. Defense attorney Patrick Griffin has built his reputation for winning cases over his celebrated career, and our team is renowned for our professionalism and our outstanding client satisfaction. Our top-rated trial attorneys have been featured on NBC, ABC and CBS News, and are ready to fight for you if you are facing either child abuse, endangerment or domestic violence charges.
To learn more about our legal services, or what you can expect during a child abuse or child endangerment proceeding, be sure to contact us. A member of our team will be with you shortly to listen to you and to answer your questions.