Los Angeles Child Endangerment Defense Lawyer
Child endangerment is an extremely serious offense in Los Angeles, and a conviction can result in high monetary fines, jail time, and other penalties. A prosecutor may charge an individual with child endangerment if they place the safety or well-being of a minor child at risk.
In some situations, the accused individual might have left their child alone for an excessive time. Alternatively, the individual may have placed dangerous controlled substances – or a loaded firearm – in the child’s immediate reach area.
Although the accused individual’s actions (or inactions) must have exposed the child to harm, the child need not actually experience direct physical harm or injuries for the prosecution to secure a child endangerment conviction.
In some situations, child endangerment charges arise in tandem with a domestic violence case.
If you face a criminal charge for child endangerment, you must have an experienced criminal defense attorney representing you at every stage of your case. The knowledgeable Los Angeles child endangerment defense lawyers at Chudnovsky Law can assert a solid legal defense to your pending charge or pursue a favorable plea deal from the attorney prosecuting your case.
For a free case evaluation and legal consultation with a knowledgeable Los Angeles child endangerment defense attorney, please call us for more information.
Why Should We Represent You in Your Criminal Case?
Given the potential penalties and collateral consequences upon conviction for a child endangerment charge, you want an experienced legal team to advocate for you throughout your case. The skilled child endangerment defense lawyers at Chudnovsky Law can do just that.
Our criminal defense attorneys have a combined 65 years of experience successfully advocating for individuals in criminal cases. In addition, many of our lawyers were once state prosecutors. We fully understand how prosecutors build their cases, gather evidence, and obtain convictions, and we use that knowledge to our clients' advantage when defending them against their criminal charges.
In addition, our legal team has more than 9,000 criminal court cases and jury trials under its belt. Obviously, we are not afraid to take a criminal case to trial – especially if you have a robust legal defense.
Finally, our attorneys have favorable and collegial working relationships with local prosecuting attorneys and criminal court judges, and we use those relationships to pursue favorable results on behalf of our clients.
Some of our successful recent case results have appeared in:
We have also achieved the following recent accolades:
- 5 Star Rating on Findlaw
- 5 Star Peer-Reviewed on Martindale-Hubbell
- 5 Star Rating on Lawyers.com
- 5 Star Ratings on Google Los Angeles, Orange County, Long Beach
- Top 100 Trial Lawyers, National Trial Lawyers Association
- Rated best criminal defense lawyers in Los Angeles & Orange County by Expertise
- 10.0 Lawyer Rating on Justia
- 10.0 Superb Rating on AVVO
Our office is at 1933 South Broadway #1100, Los Angeles, CA 90007.
What Are the Potential Penalties for a Child Endangerment Conviction?
If the prosecuting attorney obtains a conviction against you on a child endangerment charge, you will likely face severe penalties. However, to secure a conviction in your case, the prosecutor must establish their legal burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
If the prosecutor cannot satisfy even one legal element of the underlying child endangerment charge, they cannot obtain a guilty finding or conviction against you.
If the court convicts you, a sentencing judge must impose penalties under the California Penal Code. For example, when a child endangerment charge involves the risk of severe bodily harm or death to the involved child, the prosecutor can bring the case as either a felony or a misdemeanor.
A felony conviction can result in six years in prison. However, a conviction on a misdemeanor child endangerment offense can lead to only one year in a Los Angeles County jail.
In addition to these potential penalties upon conviction, you might face various collateral consequences. For example, post-conviction, you may have difficulty finding a place to live or finding and keeping a job, given the prevalence of online criminal background checks.
Additionally, you may have difficulty obtaining admission to an educational institution, such as a college or university. Finally, the chances are you will suffer harm to your reputation – both personally and professionally.
Our legal team can represent you at a sentencing hearing in your case and pursue a lower penalty than the prosecuting attorney recommends. We can also work to eliminate – or at the very least lessen – the collateral consequences you ultimately experience due to your child endangerment conviction.
Legal Elements of a Child Endangerment Charge in California
Section 273a of the California Penal Code covers the crime of child endangerment.
To secure a conviction against you, the state prosecutor must fully satisfy their legal burden of proof.
Specifically, the prosecutor must show that the accused individual:
- Knowingly and willfully placed, or caused a child to be placed, in a dangerous situation
- Willfully and knowingly caused or permitted a child who was in their care to suffer physical injuries
- Caused or allowed a child to suffer some type of mental or physical pain and suffering that was unreasonable
In some situations, a Los Angeles police officer may uncover potential evidence of child endangerment when they come to investigate a reported domestic violence incident.
For example, if the officer discovers a knife, loaded gun, or other dangerous weapon within a child's reach, it can lead to a criminal charge for child endangerment. If the officer comes across such evidence, they usually refer the case to the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services. A criminal charge for child neglect, according to Section 270 of the California Penal Code, may also soon follow.
Potential Legal Defenses to a Child Endangerment Charge in Los Angeles
At a criminal court trial, the state prosecutor has the sole legal burden of proof. However, the individual accused of child endangerment does not have to prove anything or even testify in their own defense at trial, according to the Fifth Amendment’s constitutional protection against self-incrimination.
However, the accused can raise one or more legal defenses to their pending criminal charge. Doing so may poke a hole in the prosecution’s case, so to speak, and prevent the prosecutor from fully satisfying their required legal burden of proof.
In short, if your defense succeeds at a criminal court trial, your entire case may be subject to a complete dismissal.
Our legal team can raise one or more of the following defenses on your behalf and pursue the case dismissal that you need:
- The falsity of the prosecution's allegations
- That you did not intentionally place the child in danger
- That you did not have responsibility for the child at the time of the alleged incident
- That at the time you disciplined your child, you were acting within your parental rights
- That the other parent or another adult told the child to supply information to the authorities that was untrue
- That the false allegations are part of a divorce or child custody case where the parties are disputing custody
Our experienced legal team can determine if you might be eligible to raise one or more of these legal defenses in response to your child endangerment charge. If so, we can raise the appropriate defense at your criminal court trial and obtain a complete dismissal of your case.
Possible Legal Options in Your Criminal Case
As an alternative to raising a strong legal defense in response to your child endangerment charge, we work to secure a favorable plea deal from the district attorney handling your case.
A prosecutor may offer you a favorable plea deal if they are not confident in their ability to obtain a conviction at trial. They may have flimsy or weak evidence, or they simply may not feel confident in their abilities at trial.
If you have one or more strong legal defenses to your pending child endangerment charge, you might want to take your case to trial and pursue an acquittal. However, if you do not have a solid legal defense, you might want to accept a plea deal from the prosecutor, depending on the terms of the agreement.
As part of a plea deal, the state prosecutor will typically ask you to plead guilty to an offense in exchange for certain concessions on their part. For instance, the prosecutor might agree to a reduced criminal charge with lighter penalties. Alternatively, the prosecutor may offer you a period of supervised probation, during which time you must satisfy certain requirements. If you complete the terms of your probation successfully, any conviction on your record can disappear.
By pleading guilty to a criminal offense, however, you will give up certain legal and constitutional rights, including your right to a trial by jury and your right to appeal in the case. Our legal team can work to negotiate a favorable plea deal from the state prosecutor to decide whether you should accept or reject a plea deal based on the facts and circumstances of your case.
Steps to Take after a Police Officer Arrests You
If a police officer arrests you on a child endangerment charge, retain any citations and charging documents you receive and forward them to us so we can review them. Also, while you are in police custody, invoke your constitutional right to the presence of legal counsel during questioning. Otherwise, any statement you make – even an offhand remark – can damage your case. A police officer or prosecutor will use such information against you at your criminal court trial.
Finally, you should retain a skilled attorney quickly to handle your case. Waiting too long to retain legal counsel may lead to severe complications since an attorney needs sufficient time to gather evidence, formulate strong legal defenses, and prepare your case for the courtroom.
If you wait too long and show up in court alone, a judge does not have to postpone your criminal court trial. They can make you go forward with a trial without legal counsel. Given the potential penalties and collateral consequences upon conviction for child endangerment, you do not want that to happen in your case.
Call a Los Angeles Child Endangerment Defense Attorney Now
Any sort of criminal conviction on your record is a big deal and can hurt your life for years. It can affect every aspect of your life, from getting a job to securing financial aid for education. Having an experienced attorney to advocate for you represents your best chance of a positive outcome.
The experienced criminal defense attorneys at Chudnovsky Law can promptly enter an appearance on your behalf and begin advocating for your legal rights and interests. Specifically, we can formulate a solid legal defense to your pending child endangerment charge or pursue a favorable plea deal from the district attorney in your case.
Our legal team will join you every step of the way, zealously advocating for your legal interests, protecting your constitutional rights, and achieving a fair result in your case.