Child endangerment is endangering a child and can be a felony or misdemeanor depending in how severe the danger was to the child. This crime is serious and can have far reaching effects on someones record, career, child custody and visitation. It does not matter if their are injuries or not for purposes of filing the charges, injuries do matter as far as plea bargaining and sentencing. It is the putting a child in a situation where they are likely to suffer great bodily injury or death which is a felony, and a misdemeanor for circumstances are not likely to result in great bodily injury or death. For the actual law and elements of this offense, see California Penal Code 273a(a) and (b)
Often these charges are added in cases involving drug possession or usage where a child may be able to access dangerous drugs or paraphenalia. The charge is used where children are left home alone and based on their age or development are endangered. Kids left in cars in the summer while the mother or father shops or goes to a bar also are a basis for such charges, not to mention access to weapons. Once an arrest is made, Child Protective Services (CPS) is notified and the child can be taken away pending investigation or juvenile protective custody hearings. CPS isand their actions are in addition to any Criminal Proceedings. DUI with a child in the car is very serious and will also result in Child endangerment charges and increased penalties. A 52 week parenting classes are the norm if probation is granted after a plea or finding of guilt. Felonies can result in up to a 6 year prison commit, or local custody and probation of 48 months. A misdemeanor carries up to a year in jail, $1000 fine and a program.
The child can be returned to the home, given exclusively to one parent, to a relative subject to visitation, or placed in a foster home pending Juvenile Dependency Hearings. One parent may be primarily to blame, but there can be allegations in Juvenile Court against the other for failure to protect. These charges are more common than you think and can be devastating to a parent, Chistoph Law Offices have handled many misdemeanor and felony child endangerment cases, call us for a free consultation at 760-941-5720 and let us help you get the best resolution in your case.