Child endangerment laws were created to protect the well-being of the most vulnerable and innocent members of society. The topic of child-related abuse or violence often turns into a sensitive issue that can tear families apart. As a result, child endangerment offenses should be taken seriously. They can certainly carry harsh repercussions under the California judicial system. Learn how a San Diego assault and domestic violence lawyer can help.

Maybe your family is dealing with a case of simple misunderstanding. Regardless of your circumstances, you should contact an experienced San Diego child endangerment attorney right away to protect your rights. The dedicated legal team at McElfresh Law is here to answer any questions you may have.

Contact us today at (858) 756-7107 to schedule a free evaluation.

What is Child Endangerment?

Child endangerment can encompass any type of conduct that actively or passively places a child at risk of harm or potential injury. This offense is typically committed by someone with an established relationship between the child and the violator such as a parent, relative, or assigned caretaker. Acts that may constitute child endangerment include:

  • Assault or threat of assault
  • Leaving a child in a hostile or unsafe environment with potential for harm; e.g., inside a hot, locked car, or an establishment with exposure to alcohol, drugs, or illicit activities.
  • Failing to take action to protect against life-threatening situations; e.g., forgetting to attend to a child’s medical needs.
  • Failing to secure a child in a mandatory car seat while driving.
  • Having unguarded firearms or other dangerous goods within reach distance of a child.
  • Leaving a child unsupervised in public

In general, child endangerment offenses can happen in any environment that poses physical, health, moral, and/or emotional threats to minors. You can be charged with a child endangerment crime even when the act is unintentional and did not cause actual injury. As along as a child was exposed to a potentially dangerous situation, you can be held legally responsible. Unfortunately, many parents and caretakers find themselves facing criminal punishments for making a regrettable mistake.

Everyone is guaranteed the right to legal representation. When you are facing child endangerment charges, it is important to speak with a knowledgeable lawyer at McElfresh Law right away. Your attorney can provide you with the support and advice you need when navigating a complex legal system.

Child Endangerment Laws in California

According to California Penal Code 273(a), “any person who, under circumstances or conditions likely to:

  • Produce great bodily harm or death (to a child),
  • Willfully causes or permits any child to suffer, or inflicts thereon unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering, or having the care or custody of any child,
  • Willfully causes or permits the person or health of that child to be injured
  • Willfully causes or permits that child to be placed in a situation where his or her person or health is endangered

…shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding 1 year, or in the state prison for 2, 4, or 6 years.”

In addition to lengthy jail sentences, you may also be subject to penalties such as:

  • Up to $1,000 in fines (misdemeanor)
  • Up to $10,000 in fines (felony)
  • Probation for minimum of 4 years
  • Protective order against contact with child
  • Loss of parental rights
  • Criminal citation on your permanent record

How a San Diego Child Endangerment Attorney Can Help

Family situations can become extremely complicated. Unhealthy relationships, separations, divorces, or disputes can lead to false accusations of child endangerment. Other incidents of spousal abuse or domestic violence can contribute to negative home environments. In other instances, children will seek retaliation in response to parental discipline. Whatever the case may be, an experienced San Diego lawyer can help investigate your situation, and provide the best possible defense.

The skilled legal team at McElfresh Law will be able to apply their extensive knowledge of California courts and domestic violence laws to defend your case. Attorney Jessica McElfresh is committed to providing quality representation to defendants from all walks of life. We want to protect your rights and reputation.

Call today at (858) 756-7107 to speak with a knowledgeable San Diego child endangerment attorney. We may be able to reduce or reverse the child endangerment charges against you or another family member.

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