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Bay Area Criminal Lawyers, PC Team

Child Abuse and Endangerment

California Penal Code § 273d(a) about child abuse states that any person who willfully inflicts upon a child any cruel or inhuman corporal punishment or an injury resulting in a traumatic condition is guilty of a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment pursuant to Penal Code § 1170(h) for two, four, or six years, or in a county jail for not more than one year, by a fine of up to six thousand dollars ($6,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine.

Child abuse is an injury to a child, such as striking or hitting a child, or punishing the child in an unusual or harsh manner. Locking a child away or withholding nutrition is also child abuse.

Sentences for child abuse can very depending on your prior criminal history and the circumstances surrounding the case. Penal Code § 273d(b) warns that any person found guilty of violating Penal Code § 273a will receive a four-year sentence enhancement for a prior conviction of that offense, unless the defendant has remained free of both the commission of the offense that resulted in a felony conviction and prison custody or custody in a county jail for the past ten years. If a person is convicted of violating this child abuse statute, but probation is granted, the court will impose a mandatory minimum period of probation of 36 months, a court-ordered protective order to protect the victim from further acts of violence, child abuser’s treatment counseling, and more. Child abuse can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony.

Under California’s child endangerment law, Penal Code § 273a, any person who, under circumstances or conditions likely to produce great bodily harm or death, willfully causes or permits any child to suffer, or inflicts thereon unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering, or having the care or custody of any child, willfully causes or permits the person or health of that child to be injured, or willfully causes or permits that child to be placed in a situation where his or her person or health is endangered, shall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or in the state prison for two, four, or six years.

Child endangerment, under Penal Code § 273a(b), where the circumstances or conditions of the situation are other than those likely to produce great bodily harm or death, willfully causes or permits any child to suffer, or inflicts thereon unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering, or having the care or custody of any child, willfully causes or permits the person or health of that child to be injured, or willfully causes or permits that child to be placed in a situation where his or her person or health may be endangered is guilty of a misdemeanor.

Sentences for child endangerment can vary depending on the circumstances. For example, if a person is convicted of violating Penal Code § 273a and probation is granted, the court requires the minimum conditions, such as a mandatory minimum period of probation of 48 months, a court-ordered protective order to protect the victim from further acts of violence, child abuser’s treatment counseling, and more. Child endangerment can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony.

If you are under investigation by Child Protective Services or have been charged with child abuse or child endangerment, you need an experienced attorney who understands your situation, such as the attorneys who are part of the BACL team.


The information on this website is for informational purposes only and is not intended, nor should it be taken, as legal advice. The information may or may not apply to your case or situation. Please do not rely on any information on this website as legal advice from an attorney because it is not legal advice. Please contact us if you have any questions, and we will be happy to have one of our lawyers talk to you. Any preliminary consultation between you and a lawyer from our firm is covered by the attorney-client privilege.



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