Child Endangerment Defense Attorney | Orange County

For 40+ years, the child endangerment defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have gone above and beyond in helping their clients who are charged with violating California penal code 273(a) and other related charges. We understand what it takes to successfully defend our clients and fight for their rights. We have the knowledge, skill, and resources to take on tough cases. With offices in Orange County, Torrance, San Bernardino, Riverside, West Covina, Victorville, and throughout the greater Los Angeles area, our dedicated team of child endangerment defense attorneys is waiting to help you. Call us toll-free today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL for a free phone consultation and take advantage of our 40+ years of expertise.

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What is Child Endangerment? | PC 273(a)

Child endangerment occurs when you place or allow a child to be placed in a dangerous situation. You can be charged with this crime even if the child is not in your care. This definition of this crime is very broad, covering many different situations, but under California Penal Code Section 273(a), a person can be charged with child endangerment for any of the following:

  • Causing or permitting a child to suffer unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering
  • Willfully causing or permitting a child in your care to be injured
  • Willfully causing or permitting a child to be placed in a dangerous situation.

Unlike the crime of child abuse, the prosecutor can charge you with child endangerment even if the child does not suffer an actual physical injury. All that is required is unjustifiable physical or mental harm to the child. If you or a loved one are charged with child endangerment in California, it is important that you understand the terms above. “Willfully” means to do something on purpose. You can be charged with this crime even if you do not intend to break the law or cause any harm. “Unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering” means excessive or unreasonable pain or suffering under the circumstances. Some examples of a “dangerous situation” include, but are not limited to:

  • Leaving dangerous weapons, including loaded guns and knives, within a child’s reach
  • Negligently leaving a child with a person whom you know has a history of abusive behavior
  • Failing to seek medical treatment for a sick or injured child.

Child endangerment is a very serious crime in Orange County, California. You face life-altering legal, professional, and personal consequences that also affect your family. At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys understand that the law can be confusing. When you choose one of our skilled attorneys to represent you, we will answer all of your questions and concerns. We believe it is crucial for our clients to be well informed on all aspects of their case, so they can make informed decisions with the help of their attorney. Since this crime can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, it is important for you to contact an experienced attorney at Wallin & Klarich as soon as possible. We may be able to convince the prosecutor’s office to file your charge as a misdemeanor before the court. 

What Must The Prosecution Prove For A Child Endangerment Conviction?

The prosecutor has the freedom to choose whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. However, the prosecutor must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt for you to be convicted. In order to find you guilty of violating child endangerment or child neglect laws, the prosecution must prove that you did one of the following:

  • Willfully inflicted unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering on a child
  • Willfully caused or permitted a child to suffer unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering
  • Caused or permitted a child in your care or custody to be injured 
  • Caused or permitted a child in your custody to be placed in a dangerous situation.
  • You acted under circumstances that were likely to inflict great bodily injury or death
  • You were criminally negligent. You can be found to be criminally negligent if:
    • You acted in a reckless way that created a high risk of death or great bodily injury.
    • A reasonable person would have known that acting that way would probably result in harm to the child.
    • You did not act reasonably while disciplining the child.

Child Endangerment Punishments | What You’re Facing

If you are convicted of child endangerment in Orange County, California, you face life-altering consequences. You could even lose custody of your children, which is not only traumatic for you, it is also extremely traumatic for the child. That’s not to mention the far-reaching personal and professional impacts a charge such as this can have on your life. Depending on the industry in which you work, you may even lose your job. In addition, you also face the loss of your freedom and a heavy financial burden. 

Depending on whether or not the defendant’s behavior presented a risk of “great bodily injury or death” to the child, child endangerment can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. The penalties for misdemeanor and felony child endangerment are outlined below.  

Misdemeanor Child Endangerment Penalties 

  • Imprisonment in a county jail for up to one year
  • A fine of up to $1,000

Felony Child Endangerment Penalties 

  • Imprisonment in state prison for 2, 4, or 6 years
  • A fine of up to $10,000

Moreover, if you actually inflicted great bodily injury on the child, you may receive an additional and consecutive three to six years in state prison. If the child was killed as a result of child abuse that you inflicted or as a result of your criminal negligence, you face an additional and consecutive four years in state prison. In addition to the child endangerment charge, you may also face even more serious charges such as manslaughter or murder. It’s also important to note that a felony child endangerment conviction that actually resulted in great bodily injury or death to a child counts as a “strike” on your record under California’s Three Strikes Law.

Fight Back | Possible Defenses Against Child Endangerment Charges

Throughout our 40+ years of representing numerous clients all over Southern California, our skilled attorneys have identified many effective defenses to help our clients achieve better results. We will review the specifics of your case to determine the best defense for you. Some of the defenses that we have identified include:

False Accusations/Wrongful Arrest

If you have been falsely accused, we will argue this defense on your behalf. Many child endangerment charges arise from heated custody battles. A child could also make up a false allegation because they are upset or pressured into it by your ex-spouse, ex-partner, or in-laws. These individuals can also make false allegations to get revenge or attempt to gain custody of the child. Furthermore, mandated reporters such as doctors, teachers, or social workers may jump to conclusions and make a report without knowing the full story. 

Reasonable Discipline

In the state of California, a parent is permitted to discipline his/her child, as long as the punishment is reasonable. The jury will determine if the punishment was warranted and whether it was excessive under the circumstances. For example, a jury will likely find that beating your child with a belt is unreasonable, while spanking a child with an open hand may be reasonable.

The Act Was Not Willful

Your lawyer may argue that you did not commit the act on purpose. For example, if your babysitter leaves your child in the care of an abusive individual without your consent, you are not guilty of violating child endangerment laws because you did not willfully place the baby in a dangerous situation.

There Was No Criminal Negligence

Criminal negligence must be proven for a child endangerment conviction. Your lawyer may argue that ordinary carelessness, inattention, or a lapse in judgment caused the act which led to your child endangerment charge. If this is found to be true, there is no criminal negligence on your part regardless of the consequences.

Hiring A Child Endangerment Defense Attorney | How We Can Help You

When dealing with such serious allegations it is crucial to hire the best attorney you can find. At Wallin & Klarich criminal defense firm we believe that there are four (4) key aspects that you, the client, should look for when hiring an attorney. 

  1. Experience
  2. Communication
  3. Track record
  4. Ethos – Credibility

Wallin & Klarich | 40+ Years of Experience Defending Child Endangerment Charges

Here at Wallin & Klarich, our team of highly-trained attorneys have over 40+ years of experience representing clients accused of child endangerment. This experience does not only mean that we are competent in the handling of your case, but equally important, we know our way around the local courthouses and we know the local prosecutors. This sometimes overlooked, and often underappreciated knowledge makes it easier to craft a defense that gives you the highest chance of success possible. 

24/7 Communication With Your Attorney | The Wallin & Klarich Way 

Cases are won in the courtroom but made in the office. At Wallin & Klarich, we believe that communication and transparency are vital to a successful case. With all the paperwork and legality, we have found that when people retain other law firms it is common for the client to get lost in the legal process and only have a vague idea of what is going on in their case. We believe this is why so many people retain our law firm to help them when facing a child endangerment charge. By keeping an open line of communication with our clients and walking side-by-side with them through the entire legal process we have found that our clients are not only happier but receive a better outcome when communication is kept at the forefront of our efforts. 

Give us a call at (877) 4-NO-JAIL and let’s begin communicating on how we can get the best outcome for your case. 

Track Record of Success | Wallin & Klarich History of Winning Cases

Words mean nothing if the outcome of your case is not what you were looking for. We are confident enough in our abilities to deliver the best possible outcome in your case that we invite you to read about some of our previous big wins in the courtroom.

Reputation & Ethos | Wallin & Klarich A Reputation You Want on Your Side

There are hundreds of lawyers that claim to have extensive experience defending clients throughout California charged with child endangerment. It is often difficult to determine which law firm to hire to help you in your child endangerment case. Throughout our 40 years of representing persons facing criminal charges, we have had many happy clients who we’ve helped retain their freedom. Check out some of what our previous clients had to say!

Free Consultation | Call Us Now!

Contact us online or call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL for a free phone consultation. With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, West Covina, Torrance, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Diego, and throughout Southern California, we are only a phone call away. Our initial consultations can be done in-person or virtually, so it’s up to you to choose which works best. During your initial consultation, we will ask about the facts of your case. We will discuss every aspect of your case and go over the potential defenses that may be available for you. When it matters most, you can rely on Wallin & Klarich to defend your rights.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, you can still be charged with child endangerment depending on the facts of the case and the severity of the situation. That being said, one crucial element of child endangerment is that the defendant willfully inflicted or permitted unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering or endangerment on a child. This crime does require a willful intent to cause the injury or endangerment. It is unlikely a reasonable mistake would satisfy the elements of child endangerment. With the right defense attorney, you have a good chance of beating the charges.

Yes. California classifies this as a "DUI with child endangerment", which, if found guilty, will result in mandatory jail time.

Child endangerment under PC 273(a) is a "wobbler" offense, meaning it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. The determining factors will be the severity of the situation imposed on the child, previous criminal history, and how negligent you were.

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