Los Angeles Child Abuse Lawyer
Child abuse is a serious crime with severe consequences, including long-term imprisonment, hefty fines, and other life-long consequence. Child abuse accusations may not always be accurate, but this does not prevent overzealous prosecutors from aggressively seeking steep convictions.
If you are facing child abuse accusations, it is crucial to speak with an experienced child abuse attorney in Los Angeles as soon as possible.
Manshoory Law provides a team of highly experienced and skilled child abuse attorneys committed to protecting the rights of defendants accused of crimes.
Our criminal defense attorneys leverage all tools and resources in pursuit of justice for our clients. Contact our law firm today for a free initial non-obligatory consultation about your child abuse case.
What Is Considered Child Abuse?
California law classifies several crimes under the child abuse category. If you face a child abuse accusation, it is crucial to understand the most common charges and their consequences.
The following are the two most common child abuse charges in Los Angeles:
- Felony: California law under penal code section 273a (a) defines a felony as “willful cruelty or neglect with the threat of great bodily injury or death.” In simpler terms, you could be accused of a felony if you willfully allowed any child to suffer any physical pain or mental suffering that could result in their injury or death. You could also face charges for a felony if you willfully permit a child’s health to be harmed or place a child in a situation where their person or health is endangered.
- Misdemeanor: California’s penal code section 273a (b) defines a misdemeanor as “willful neglect or cruelty not likely to result in death or significant bodily injury.” In a nutshell, a misdemeanor charge is preferred when you are accused of willfully allowing any child to suffer any physical pain or mental suffering other than those likely to produce great bodily harm or death.
Keep in mind that these laws apply to both people with custody of the child and any person who doesn’t have any relationship with a child.
What are the Most Common Types?
California laws prohibit any type of cruelty towards a child, including physical attacks, mental abuse, neglects, sexual abuse, and more.
Child abuse laws typically cover the same counts regardless of the county in which the abuse occurred:
- Assault: Child abuse laws prohibit physical attacks against children or any other action that could harm the child. You could face child abuse charges if you inflict minor injuries such as bruises or more severe injuries, including broken bones, deep cuts, and burns. Even if you didn’t willfully intend to cause the injury, prosecutors could still charge you with child abuse.
- Discipline: Most cases of child abuse arise when a parent is trying to discipline a child. California courts have determined parents and custodians need to act in the child’s best interest when administering discipline. In essence, unreasonable actions to discipline a child are typically considered abusive.
- Sexual abuse: Sexual actions against a minor are abusive. Since children can’t give consent, an adult who engages in sexual activity with a minor is often charged with child abuse. Sexual abuse includes lying, coercion, bribery, or demands for sexual acts with a minor. It also includes rape, exhibitionism, sexual videos, games, pictures, and forced viewing of sexual acts. This means physical acts of force aren’t necessary to be charged with sexual abuse.
- Neglect: Although accidental harm to a child is not considered abuse, injuries that occur due to carelessness and negligent actions are covered under child abuse laws. Leaving a child in a home to tend for themselves can be an abusive act. Failure to offer regular medical care, shelter, or emotional support could also be considered child abuse. Other forms of neglect that could land you in trouble include improper supervision, unsafe housing, inadequate food or clothing, and poor hygiene.
- Emotional abuse: In California, verbal threats and emotional abuse constitute child abuse. Emotional child abuse occurs when an accused shows behavior or attitude that can impact a minor’s mental health or social development. This could include vulgar language (whether it’s directed towards the child or not), name-calling, shouting or yelling at a child, making fun of, or belittling a child. In such scenarios, the child doesn’t need to suffer actual physical harm for you to be arraigned in court for child abuse. For example, a parent who humiliates or terrorizes a child or subjects a child to verbal attacks has committed child abuse.
What Are the Legal Consequences?
In Los Angeles, breaking the law on child abuse is typically considered a severe state matter that attracts severe consequences.
The following are some of the critical consequences of child abuse conviction:
- Fines: A conviction for child abuse almost always results in hefty fines running into several thousands of dollars
- Jail or prison: Incarceration is also quite common with child abuse. In California, a misdemeanor conviction attracts a one-year jail county jail term, while felony convictions result in sentences of six years or more in prison.
- Probation sentences: Probation sentences often accompany child abuse sentences in California. Both misdemeanor and felony convictions attract four years of probation, one year of a child abuser’s treatment and counseling program.
- Other penalties: If a child abuse case involves a parent or guardian, the court in Los Angeles could limit parental rights if convicted. These include imposing restraining orders or placing a child under protective custody with a foster family or state agency.
What Are the Common Defenses to Allegations of Child Abuse?
Ideally, there is no one-single defense to overturn a child abuse case in trial. However, depending on the circumstances of the case, the defense attorney can apply an array of defenses. For example, an Los Angeles child abuse lawyer could argue that the allegation is false and malicious.
They could also demonstrate the child’s injuries were accidental or highlight the lack of concrete evidence.
Why Do You Need a Criminal Lawyer?
Child abuse is an impactful charge that could result in severe criminal or civil sanctions. Apart from the penalties mentioned above, being accused of child abuse could lead to social exclusion, reputation loss, and even loss of gainful employment. As mentioned earlier, not all child abuse cases are true.
Unfortunately, state laws are challenging to apply in situations where you are accused falsely or where you didn’t willfully intend to harm a child. As such, it is essential to consult a qualified local attorney in Los Angeles as soon as you are arrested for child abuse.
The experienced criminal defense attorneys from Manshoory Law are qualified to give you legal advice about your child abuse case. Call for your free consultation at (877) 977-775.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Go to Jail for Slapping Your Child?
You can be charged with a misdemeanor or felony for slapping a child. California Penal Code 273d PC defines child abuse as inflicting physical injury or imposing a cruel punishment on a minor.
What Is Considered Abusive to a Child?
Any intentional harm or mistreatment to a minor is considered child abuse. These could include but are not limited to physical injury, sexual abuse, neglect, or maltreatment of a person under 18 years old. In a nutshell, child abuse is any action that could harm or threaten the welfare or health of a minor.
What Is the Punishment for Abusive Parents?
Child abuse convictions come with adverse consequences. These include jail or prison sentences, fines, registration as a child offender, injunctions, loss of custody, or parental rights. It could also result in a restriction on probation and parole and involuntary commitment to a mental institution.
How to Fight a Child Abuse Charge in LA
Under the California penal code section 288, child abuse is a felony that attracts up to 8 years in prison. While the law protects vulnerable children, it also protects parents, caregivers, and other people working with children. In most cases, child abuse allegations stem from false accusations or misunderstandings. If you are facing a child abuse charge in LA, the best strategy is to seek legal representation from a qualified and experienced attorney. An attorney will advise on your legal rights and options.
What Is the Sentence for Child Endangerment in California?
Child endangerment under Penal Code Section 273(a) is charged as a misdemeanor or felony. When charged as a misdemeanor, it carries up to one year in prison. When charged as a felony, it attracts two and four years in state prison.