Penal Code 273a PC - Child Endangerment
In Los Angeles the domestic violence crime of child endangerment is a very serious crime that can result in jail time, the offender losing their parental rights and a host of other punishments that will be related to whatever it is the defendant did in order to place a child or their child in danger.
Examples of child endangerment that I've seen is leaving your child in a car or hot vehicle with all the windows up or putting your child in harm in some way in that the child could actually be seriously injured or even a death could result based on the actions of the person that's responsible for the child.
Child endangerment is a little bit different than child abuse because it's really just putting a very difficult position, and of course, society and the court system are going to do everything they can to protect children in Los Angeles and they are going to use the Penal Code Section 273a to do it.
The elements of a child endangerment case – fine they're in the jury instructions – but I like to put them so you actually understand what they mean.
Really what it has to do with is putting a child in danger in some way, because society is set up to protect children because they cannot protect themselves.
So, if you put a child in danger where they can get hurt or death or serious injury could occur because of your actions as a responsible party, then obviously you're going to end up suffering the consequences for that.
Another area where I've seen child endangerment filed is let's say you have a bunch of alcoholic drinks at a party and you get in the car with your child and you get in a horrible accident and your child gets hurt – they are going to file child endangerment charges against you.
You're going to potentially lose the ability to see and care for your child and you're going to be looking at jail time.
These types of cases are treated very seriously, and as a person that's being charged with a criminal offense related to child endangerment, you're going to want to get an attorney who has done these types of cases before.
You will need a domestic violence attorney who has had success, knows how to deal with the prosecutors and the judges, because a lot of these judges are very angry when they see children harmed in any way or danger come to children, and they are going to take that out on the person who is responsible for that.
If that's you, you need to figure out a plan to get an attorney who can put the wheels in motion to do damage control on your case and get you out of the criminal justice system as soon as possible.
What Can You Do To Help Yourself In A Child Endangerment Case?
The type of things you can do obviously are to show the good things that you've done in your life, and specifically towards your child, and the things that you provided to them, and to show that whatever happened in this case is an aberration that's never going to happen again.
The factors that the prosecutors and judges are going to look at are – what was the danger to the child? What harm, if any, occurred to the child based on our actions in this criminal case?
Why did you do whatever it is you did that put your child in danger? And, probably most importantly, what can be done now by the courts, the prosecutors and you, to make sure that this never happens again and to set the table to make things right. What plan can we put in place?
If we can get character letters from friends and family that know you that are saying good things about you, if we can get your child on board that they want to still be with you and that they trust you and love you and they want to move forward and have a happy life with you.
Then now we're in a good position to set the stage to convince the prosecutor and judge that even though you may have been involved in a child endangerment situation, it's not going to happen again and here's what we're going to do to make sure it never happens again and here's what we're going to do to make it right for this child.
Reviewing Your Case for Best Outcome
What I do is, I have you come in the office. We sit down, we go over everything. I need an honest account from you of exactly what happened. Then I will look at the police report and figure out from my years of experience what the best move is in order to show the judge and the prosecutor that this is not going to happen again.
Sometimes things are blown out of proportion. Sometimes your version of events is not gotten across to the police who are investigating the case.
That's your attorney's job – to show the prosecutors who are lawyers like your defense attorney, making decisions on what charges that you're going to actually end up having to plead guilty to, and what punishment is going to be exacted against you for your actions.
Your attorney has to get in there, fight for you, show the good things, get your version of events across so that you can end up with a result that you can live with, that you can recover from and that you and your child can move forth in a positive direction.
The crime of child endangerment is governed by California Penal code section 273(a) which states that the crime may be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony.
Prosecutor has sole discretion on whether the crime will be charged as a felony or not. If the actions that led to the charge of child endangerment put the child at great risk of injury then the crime will likely be charged as a felony.
To be charged with this crime the child does not have to be necessarily be injured. The penal code states that a person may be found guilty of child endangerment if he or she caused or allowed a child to be in a dangerous situation for example, leaving a child in a hot car unattended for several hours. .
How Our Child Endangerment Lawyers Can Help
The definition is very broad and that is why if you are facing such allegations, it is very important that you contact an experienced and knowledgeable attorney to help you through the process, starting from the investigation.
A conviction of child endangerment carries serious penalties and we, as your advocate, want to intervene from the very beginning to do anything and everything we can to minimize the charges or if possible, get the charges completely dismissed.
Get in touch with the Hedding Law firm and we will do whatever we can to put this situation behind you. We offer free face to face consultation.