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Being accused of endangering your or another person’s child is stressful. Not only do these allegations carry serious criminal penalties, but your reputation could be permanently damaged.

Convictions for these offenses can come with harsh consequences. While the prosecutor has the discretion to pursue a case as either a misdemeanor or a felony, a conviction in any case can result in a lengthy jail sentence. In addition, the State or the alleged victim’s parents may push for the imposition of a criminal protective order that limits your ability to have contact with the minor victim in the case.

It should be noted that a child does not have to suffer actual physical injury for someone to be charged with child abuse, neglect, or risk of injury to a minor. For example, a child who is present and observes one parent abusing another parent can be mentally and emotionally impacted by the experience.

If you are facing these charges, you need the guidance of a qualified criminal defense attorney. Work with an Alameda County child endangerment lawyer to help you defend your reputation and your freedom.

What Behaviors Constitute Risk of Injury to a Minor?

Any action that exposes a child to danger or harm could be considered child endangerment or risk of injury to a minor. One of the most prominent examples of this is driving while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol and having a child in the vehicle.

A person could be charged with child endangerment whether or not he or she gets into an accident. If he or she is cited for drunk or intoxicated driving while transporting a minor, he or she could also be criminally liable for endangering that child. In these cases, the adult would be facing both DUI and child endangerment charges.

Other types of child endangerment offenses involve reckless or negligent conduct involving children. This includes evading law enforcement, a violation to Vehicle Code §2800.1. Another example of child endangerment is leaving a young child unsupervised, leaving a firearm unattended, or discharging a firearm around a minor. Any negligent conduct by a supervising adult that could result in a child being harmed could theoretically result in a child endangerment charge, so working with an Alameda County defense attorney is highly important.

Many behaviors mentioned above are illegal in their own right and can bring potentially enhanced penalties after a conviction due to a child being at risk of harm. However, state law also contains a statute that aims to specifically punish people who allow a child to be in a dangerous situation independently of any other charge.

According to California Penal Code § 273a, it may be either a misdemeanor or a felony to act in any way that is likely to produce great bodily harm or the death of a child. At the same time, the same law prohibits a person from taking any willful action that causes or permits a child to suffer physical or mental harm.

Even if the alleged incident is likely to only result in minor harm, the law still considers this an offense. Under these circumstances, the prosecutor can pursue the case as a misdemeanor. An Alameda County child endangerment attorney could provide people with more information about the state laws that create these serious allegations.

Arrest Process for Child Endangerment Charges

The severity of the alleged conduct influences what happens after someone is arrested for child endangerment in Alameda County. In most cases, the individual will be taken to jail, arraigned, and released either on his or her own recognizance or bail. If the other parent or guardian is available, the endangered child would likely be placed in his or her care.

There could be other civil consequences after an arrest as well. For example, if divorced parents have a joint custody arrangement, the other spouse may take the parent accused of child endangerment to court to modify child custody and visitation privileges. In other cases, he or she may petition for full custody of the child or mandated supervised visitation.

Penalties Upon a Child Endangerment Conviction

Above all else, the law is concerned with protecting children. While the state’s criminal law concerning child endangerment can bring harsh penalties in the form of jail time, it also creates minimum standards for protecting children from further harm.

One example is the requirement that any person convicted under the statute and sentenced to probation complete no less than one year of child abuser’s treatment counseling. In addition, the court will create a protective order that aims to prevent any future abuse, threats, or even contact. As a result, an Alameda County lawyer fights to prevent the mere appearance of impropriety from affecting parents and other caregivers facing child endangerment charges.

Speak with an Alameda County Child Endangerment Attorney Right Away

Child endangerment crimes put you at risk of severe criminal consequences, your family life and reputation are also at risk. Fortunately, our team can help.

If you have been accused of child abuse, child neglect, or child endangerment, do not hesitate to contact an Alameda County child endangerment lawyer at our firm. Our team is well-versed in handling cases just like this and can use our relevant experience to prepare a strong defense.

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