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What Constitutes Child Endangerment?

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There are some legal terms and categories that do not necessarily correspond to the layman’s definition of those terms. One of such terms is child endangerment.

This crime can be filed as a misdemeanor or as a felony, which depends mostly on the severity of the allegations. If there are any such allegations laid against you, you should consider how the domestic violence works https://www.monderlaw.com/news/358-stages-of-a-domestic-violence-case-in-san-diego. Keep in mind that child endangerment is a part of the domestic violence group of crimes.

What we are here to learn is what child endangerment is and what you can expect if you are ever accused of it.

Definition

Essentially, this criminal offense entails a person willingly causing or permitting their children to be in a dangerous situation or exposed unjustified physical or mental pain. There are three important things to note about this definition.

The first thing that needs to be proven is that the act was willing. Meaning that the person committing this crime was fully aware that their action will endanger a child. The second thing that needs to be defined is ‘child’; in legal terms, a child is any person who is younger than 18 years old. Additionally, it is important to note that not only your children fall under this definition. Any child placed into your care is covered by this definition.

The third thing that requires further explanation is the ‘unjustified’ part. This part can affect the categorization of your crime, because it relies on the circumstances, meaning that it must be excessive or unjustified in the given situation.

Prosecution Has Tricks up Their Sleeves

It is the prosecution’s job to protect the children and convict those who are indeed responsible for crimes. However, in their zeal, prosecutors often rely on some tricks to ensure that their case is successful.

One of those tricks is turning your children against you. They will often try to lead children to tell some incriminating stories about you which they can use during the trial. However, if they are unable to do so, they do not shy away from serving a subpoena which compels your family members to come to the courthouse and provide the information the prosecution wants to hear.

There is a way around this. You need to hire a good criminal lawyer to protect yourself and to inform you about your rights and the rights of your family. This attorney can also protect your family from harassment.

Mitigating and Aggravating Factors

There are specific factors which may help or take away from your case. The most important mitigating factor is the severity if the injury your child was exposed to as a result of your actions. If the potential injury was minor to moderate, that does not constitute a ‘great bodily harm’ in California and can be used to classify your crime as a misdemeanor.

On the other hand, there are the aggravating factors. Contrary to common belief, it is not necessary that the bodily harm actually happened to a child to have an aggravating factor. In reality, even the existence of a possibility of a serious injury or death is enough. The prosecutor will argue that your behavior was the defining aspect of that crime, and not the final outcome. The fact that the injury did not occur is no justification for you creating those circumstances.

Expected Penalties

If you are found guilty of a misdemeanor child endangerment, you are looking at up to 6 months in jail, a monetary fine of $1000, probation, or a restraining order.

On the other hand, felony penalties are more severe – two, four, or six years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or restraining orders.

Whatever the charges against you may be, you will need a good lawyer to help you navigate through the legal code and offer you the best possible option for you.

To contact Monder Law Group
424 F Street, San Diego, CA, US
619-405-0063