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California law takes instances of child endangerment and neglect very seriously. While this is admirable, it also leads to a complicated tangle of legal code. As a result, Oakland risk of injury to a minor and child endangerment statutes can be difficult for a layperson to understand without professional legal aid from a child endangerment lawyer.

Potential Penalties for Risk of Injury to a Minor

For somebody charged with felony risk of injury to a minor, penalties may include two, four, or six years in state prison, and for a misdemeanor it would be up to a year in jail. There are also additional terms that the court would have to impose if somebody is given probation instead of jail time, such as protective orders protecting the child victim from the circumstances that led to the conviction. Protection orders could include prevention of the accused from living in the same residence as the child or an order preventing contact with the child altogether.

Additional sentencing terms include a mandatory minimum of at least a year of child abuse treatment counseling. If the risk of injury to the child occurred while a person was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, there could be a court-ordered bar on the use of drugs or alcohol during that period of probation, including random drug testing.

Risk of Injury of a Sexual Nature

Under California Penal Code § 9-2-273a, it is considered child endangerment to leave a minor in the care of someone who is known to be abusive, including one who is sexually abusive. If a parent leaves their child with a babysitter, neighbor, or relative with a history of abuse, for example, they may be prosecuted criminally.

Convicted individuals can be ordered to participate in child abuse counseling, payment of fines and restitution, and a stay-away order where the accused cannot have any communication or contact with the victim of the crime.

General Health of a Minor Child

California Penal Code part I, title 9 is the specific area in the statutes that protects the general health of minor children in Oakland and throughout California – specifically Penal Code sections 270 to 273.75. Child endangerment is covered in Penal Code Section 273a, which is within the abovementioned range of sections all dealing with child abuse, child neglect, child endangerment, the risk of injury, and the like.

There are also separate sections in the Welfare and Institutions Code that specifically deal with the welfare of children in dependency and delinquency cases; however, the criminal consequences faced by adults who endanger minors are primarily addressed in the Penal Code sections above.  It is important to note that under Welfare and Institutions Code section 300, social services can remove a child from the home if there is a threat to the child’s safety.

Leaving a Child Unattended in a Car

California Vehicle Code Section 15620 makes it an infraction to leave a child unattended in a car. Under the statute, no child under six-years-old should be left alone in a vehicle if it is running, if there are other circumstances of harm, or if the keys are in the ignition. Because it is an infraction, it is penalized with a fine, not jail time.

Although there is a specific section regarding unattended minors in vehicles, it does not prohibit the District Attorney from prosecuting a child endangerment charge if the risk to harm posed to the child is apparent and great.  For instance, leaving a child alone in a vehicle on a sweltering hot day resulting in the child’s death could result in felony child endangerment charges.

Hire an Attorney Who Understands Child Endangerment Statutes

If you are facing child endangerment or neglect charges, you may be confused about what specific laws are relevant to your case and how the charges could be defended effectively. You need an attorney who understands Oakland risk of injury to a minor and child endangerment statutes. Contact a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.

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When facing a criminal charge, having dedicated and experienced attorneys on your side is critical. At The Nieves Law Firm, we understand the gravity of your situation, and our criminal defense attorneys provide unwavering support and legal guidance.

From the moment you reach out to us, we prioritize your well-being and legal interests. Our criminal lawyers are with you every step of the way, from arrest to hearings and beyond, to ensure that your rights are protected. Whether you’re facing charges related to DUI, drug offenses, assault, sex crimes or any other allegation, we have the knowledge and courtroom experience to fight vigorously on your behalf.

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