California Penal Code 273a: Child Endangerment
California Penal Code 273a refers to the endangerment of a child, including the willful neglect or infliction of pain or mental anguish upon that child. It also covers individuals who know that a child is being endangered, abused or neglected but fail to do something about it – as in the case of a mother knowing a child is abusing her children but failing to report it or protect the children. It is also true that a child does not have to be the recipient of abuse, but a witness of domestic violence. This can also be a common enhancement or added count or charge for DUI cases with Child Endangerment.
Among the types of conduct that can lead to a Penal Code 273 a child endangerment charge are:
- Willfully causing or allowing a child to suffer unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering (Willful harm to a child)
- Willfully allowing a child in one’s custody to have his/her person or health injured (Willful injury to a child)
- Willfully allowing a child in one’s custody to have his/her health or safety endangered (endangering person or health of a child).
DUI With Child Endangerment Allegations
A very common situation is where a driver is pulled over and found to be DUI, and there are children in the car. The law regarding DUI considers anyone below age 18 to be a “child” for the purposes of the law, and so a DUI With Child Endangerment Allegations can be charged anytime there is someone driving under the influence of prescription or other drugs or alcohol (or both), plus a minor in the vehicle. We have handled many such cases with great success.
Defending a Child Endangerment Charge in Orange County
It’s heartbreaking to be accused of child endangerment if you’re innocent, and contacting an Orange County criminal defense lawyer specializing in Child Endangerment should be the first thing you do if you’re charged. Often times, individuals accused of crimes involving children can be tried and sentenced so to speak, before they ever go before a judge.While most people merely want to protect the children, innocent people can be hurt in the process. There are a few common defenses to child endangerment, including:
There are times when the courts feel as though a child has been endangered when in fact the child has not. For instance, if a neighbor hears raised voices and calls the police, alleging that there are children in the house next door and the adults are fighting, a child endangerment charge could happen. This is especially true if the adults are bitter or angry at one another and one files a false accusation of domestic violence. Proving that the child was not endangered is one defense an attorney may use to get his or her client’s charges dropped or reduced.
Child endangerment is defined as the willful neglect or infliction of pain or mental anguish. Therefore, individuals who did not intentionally (the willful part) do this are not guilty of the crime. An example may be a woman who is continuously abused by her husband and truly fears for the life of herself and her children if she should try to seek police help. The attorney will consider the circumstances, including past attempts to seek help, attempts to leave, and any other details surrounding the case. He or she will use these details to strategize a proper defense that conveys the accused individual’s innocence.
The most important thing one can do when accused of child endangerment is find an Orange County criminal defense lawyer specializing in child endangerment. He or she will know the laws inside and out and will be able to take the proper steps to ensure that your rights are protected and that your case is fairly tried.
If you or a loved one has been arrested for child endangerment, do the responsible thing — get professional representation from an experienced Orange County criminal defense attorney immediately to protect your rights by contacting our firm.