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What is criminal "child abuse"?

The criminal "child abuse" statute in California is Penal Code (PC) 273a. Generally, the felony child abuse law makes it illegal for anyone to cause, inflict or permit a child to be in a situation which results in great bodily injury or death.  That includes simply putting a child in a dangerous situation which could result in great bodily injury or death, regardless whether there is actaul injury. The penalty for felony child abuse or endangerment includes the possibility of probation, fines, parenting class, possible protective stay away order from the child and up to 6 years in prison depending on the facts of the case and individuals background. There is also a separate section PC 273d concerning felony corporal punishment of a child. 

Misdemeanor child abuse makes it illegal to put a child in in a situation where they could be mentally or physically injured but not suffer great bodily injury or death.  If convicted, this offense can carry up to 6 months jail, fines, a parenting class, and possible protective stay away order.  There are many important factors that need to be addressed as soon as possible in these cases.  Often CPS or child protective services is also involved.  Child endangerment charges are often filed where a child is put in a dangerous situation like drug cases where drugs are either accessible to children or being used around them.  DUI cases also have child endangerment charges filed when there is a child in the car of someone alleged to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

There are defenses to these charges as well as mitigating factors which can help resolve these cases in the best possible way.  Call Christoph Law Offices at 760-941-5720 for a free initial consultation.  We have provided the highest level of personal and professional criminal defense representation for over 32 years across from Vista Courts.

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