In this age of helicopter-parenting, the term "child endangerment" is bandied about all the time. The media is full of stories of parents who have to battle child protective services and law enforcement because they allow their children to walk home from the park alone or tell their five-year-old there is no school on Saturday and go back to sleep while the youngster decides to go to school by himself just to be sure. As a parent, it's critical to understand what is (and is not) child endangerment so you can fight back if overzealous authorities try to interfere with your right to parent your children as you think best.
Under California Penal Code 273a, parents endanger a child if they:
- willfully cause, or allow, a child to be subjected to "unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering;"
- injure the health of a child in their custody; or
- willfully expose that child to anything that will endanger the child's health.
Anyone who is arrested and found guilty of child endangerment under section 273a, can be punished by up to a year in the county jail or up to six years in state prison.
In short, child endangerment is serious crime, whether it is charged as a misdemeanor or felony. Not only can it result in a parent being arrested and imprisoned but it can destroy families as children can be taken from their homes by Child Protective Services. It is therefore critical that you contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer immediately if you even suspect that you might be accused of child endangerment, whether by an ex-spouse trying to gain leverage in a custody battle, an overzealous school administrator, or police officer who is misinterpreting your interaction with your child. Even if you think that the accusation of child endangerment is mere harassment, contact our law office immediately. I personally will take proactive measures to stop the invasion of your privacy and protect the integrity of your family.
Our law office is located in Murrieta, California and we represent individuals who have been arrested for child endangerment in Temecula, Menifee, Murrieta, Wildomar, Lake Elsinore, Hemet, Perris, Corona, Winchester or any of the surrounding Riverside County cities.