Child Endangerment Attorneys in Bakersfield, California
California law defines the criminal offense of “child endangerment” quite broadly. However, it does not change the fact that the implications of a child endangerment conviction can be severe. It is not uncommon for parents to face child endangerment charges when they are not actually violating the law.
If you or someone you know has been charged with or is being investigated for child endangerment, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. At Underwood Law Firm, our knowledgeable attorneys can pursue a successful defense to child endangerment charges. If you are facing these charges in Bakersfield, California, or elsewhere in Kern County, reach out to our office to discuss your legal matter during a confidential consultation.
What Is Child Endangerment in California?
Child abuse, neglect, and endangerment are common occurrences in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least one in seven children experiences child abuse or neglect each year.
Not all situations in which children get hurt, however, may warrant child abuse, neglect, or endangerment charges. There are several circumstances that may amount to the crime of “child endangerment” in the state of California:
Willful infliction of unjustifiable mental or physical suffering or pain upon a child;
Willfully causing or permitting a child to experience unjustifiable mental or physical suffering or pain;
Willfully causing or permitting harm to the child’s person or health while having custody/care of the child; or
Willfully causing or permitting a child to be in a situation where the child’s health or person is in danger while having custody/care of the child
Under the California Penal Code, the prosecution must prove three elements to convict someone of child endangerment:
The defendant did any of the above-mentioned;
The defendant acted willfully and was criminally negligent; and
The defendant, if they are the child’s parent, was not reasonably disciplining their child
While certain forms of corporal punishment are legal in California (e.g., spanking), cruel and inhuman forms of punishment may amount to child abuse charges. If you do not understand the charges against you, reach out to a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney as soon as you can.
Possible Penalties for Child Endangerment
People convicted of child endangerment in California can face significant consequences and penalties. In the worst-case scenario, a parent convicted of child endangerment could lose custody of their children. There is also a risk of being sent to county jail or state prison and being ordered to pay hefty fines.
Child endangerment is a wobbler in California, which means it can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the facts of the offense. The severity of punishment also depends on whether or not the child endangerment case involves the infliction of great bodily injury.
Facing child endangerment charges can be a devastating and overwhelming experience not just for you but also for your children and other members of your family. Since the implications of a conviction are severe, it is vital to work on your defense strategy as soon as you find out about the ongoing Child Protective Services investigation or charges against you.
Some of the possible defenses that may help you get the child endangerment charges reduced or dropped include:
You did not act willfully or intentionally
Your actions did not amount to criminal negligence
You were falsely accused of endangering your child
You were disciplining your child and the manner in which you were disciplining your child was “reasonable”
Your child reached the age of majority (18 years in the state of California)
Our criminal defense attorneys at Underwood Law Firm have extensive experience defending clients against child endangerment charges in Bakersfield and the rest of California.
The Importance of Skilled Advocacy
Child endangerment laws in California are quite broad, which is why it is not uncommon for law-abiding and innocent parents to face these child endangerment charges even when they did nothing wrong or illegal. That is why it is important to seek legal guidance from an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you defend against allegations of child endangerment, sexual abuse, child abuse, and more.
A skilled attorney will work through the facts of your unique case in order to find weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and deploy a strong defense strategy to give you the best possible outcome.
Child Endangerment Attorneys Serving Bakersfield, California
Due to the serious nature of child endangerment charges in California, get in touch with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. At Underwood Law Firm, we provide our clients with effective defense strategies tailored to the specific allegations in their cases. We have a reputation in Bakersfield and other parts of Kern County for our relentless and aggressive representation of clients. If you are facing child endangerment charges, set up a consultation today.