No parent or guardian wants to face child abuse accusations. Children are our most vulnerable citizens, and they deserve love and protection. However, these disputes can happen to the best parents and guardians. If such a claim happens to you, contact The Law Office of Graham D. Donath, APC. Graham Donath has decades of experience as a Riverside child abuse lawyer.
If you are accused of child abuse, consult with a Riverside child endangerment lawyer as soon as possible to prepare a strategic defense.
Most of us like to think we have a good idea of what child abuse or endangerment is, but these charges cover more ground than most people understand. According to federal agencies, child abuse can be physical, emotional, psychological, sexual, or any combination of these. Family violence or organized sexual violence may also be involved.
Child endangerment is separate from child abuse; it is when a person engages in conduct that puts a child in imminent danger of death, bodily harm, or mental impairment. An example would be a parent who drives under the influence of alcohol with a child in the vehicle.
California law considers child abuse a serious crime that involves a wide variety of behaviors that might affect a child’s safety or well-being. Under the California Penal code, child abuse occurs if the act of any parent, guardian, or any other caregiver:
In California, child abuse applies to the non-accidental infliction of harm or imminent threat of it, whether through actions or failure to act. Child abuse claims may arise from negligence, carelessness, intentional acts, and more.
Many charges of child abuse are a result of mandatory reporting laws. In California, much like the rest of the country, certain parties involved in a child’s life must report suspicions of child abuse under threat of prosecution themselves. Mandatory reporters must report any signs or symptoms of child abuse to a local authority under California law. No punishment exists for reporting, even on suspicions that end up being groundless. This leads to possible overreporting of child abuse, to protect all children’s safety. While this is a good idea in theory, it can lead to accusations of child abuse that are untrue.
Any report of suspected abuse, neglect, or endangerment will lead to an investigation by a child protective services (CPS) agency. Upon investigation, the CPS may make a recommendation to local authorities to pursue charges of child abuse or endangerment.
Child endangerment differs slightly from child abuse and involves any situation that a person causes leading to the threat of injury, danger, or death. California, like many other states, considers child endangerment a separate charge from child abuse. Under California Penal Code 273a, child endangerment occurs when the following apply:
Under California law, a child does not have to suffer actual harm as a condition of a child endangerment charge. The simple act of putting a child in danger can lead to prosecution under the California Penal Code.
A wide range of scenarios could give rise to child endangerment charges. Some common examples include:
Possible penalties for child endangerment depend on the circumstances. If an incident involving child endangerment creates a risk of great bodily harm or death, then it may be a “wobbler” under California law. This means a prosecutor may choose to pursue with misdemeanor or felony charges. A misdemeanor charge for child endangerment carries up to 1 year in county jail. Felony offenses, on the other hand, can lead to a sentence of up to 6 years in state prison, depending on the gravity of the offense.
When an episode of child endangerment creates no risk of bodily harm or death, then it is a misdemeanor charge under California law, punishable by up to one year in county jail.
Child abuse and endangerment are serious crimes under California law. Defendants facing these types of charges need help from a Riverside criminal defense attorney. If you’re facing criminal child abuse or endangerment charges, contact Graham Donath for a review of your legal options today.
If you face child abuse or endangerment accusations, authorities may take your child or children from your home. This is part of an emergency attempt to get the child out of immediate danger. With a defense attorney’s help, you may be able to regain custody of your children. The court’s goal is family maintenance when and if possible. However, the penalties for child abuse or endangerment are severe and long-lasting and can include:
Sentencing can include probation and a prison term of up to five years. If you are guilty of severe abuse or endangerment, a longer incarceration may be part of your sentence.
False allegations of child abuse are detrimental to so many parties. It’s important to fight back against such charges- if charged with child abuse, neglect, or endangerment in the Inland Empire, contact a criminal lawyer as soon as possible.
Graham Donath and the attorneys at his law offices have handled thousands of felony and misdemeanor cases, including child abuse disputes. Contact our Riverside child abuse lawyers today for a consultation regarding your claim. Graham Donath is a highly skilled board-certified specialist in criminal defense law. We can handle your case with exceptional discretion.