The concept of child abuse as one of the most well-known domestic crimes is not lost on any person.  Who hasn’t had a little bit of a spanking at some point while growing up?  It is all a part of parenting.  However, the reality is that there are some parents who take disciplining a child to a different level.

Child Abuse, also known as Corporal Injury of a Child, is the willful inflicting of unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering upon a child, no matter how slight the injury is.

Child Abuse can be punished as a Felony or a Misdemeanor, which will generally depend on the circumstances concerning each case.  While Child Abuse is a separate charge from Child Endangerment, a Child Abuse charge is a serious offense that should be taken very seriously by the accused.


Child Endangerment is the charge upon the accused, who intentionally causes or allows a child in his or her custody or care to suffer unwarrantable bodily pain or mental anguish.  In other terms, it is when the child is placed in a situation where the child’s health is endangered.

Child Abuse occurs when there is willful inflicting of unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering upon a child.

Elements of Child Abuse:

The following are the elements that the Prosecution must prove in order to convict the accused of child abuse:

Cruel Castigation – The Defendant inflicted upon a child any form of cruel or inhuman punishment or injury.
Intent – The castigation or punishment must show that the Defendant willfully inflicted the pain.  The intent must be to make sure that the child suffers.
The Child suffered a “traumatic condition” – A traumatic condition may range from a tiny scratch to visible swelling or trauma.  As long as the condition is visible and the child would say that he or she is hurt by the circumstances, the burden shift sto the Defense to show proof that the injury was not traumatic.

Punishment for Child Abuse per Criminal Defense Lawyer Los Angeles:

Child Abuse can be prosecuted as a Felony or a Misdemeanor, depending on the circumstances concerning the case.  The following are different potential punishments that can come with a Child Abuse conviction:


Two, four, or six years in State Prison
$10,000 fine


Up to one year in County Jail
$1,000 fine

Defenses to Child Abuse Charges

The following are defenses that can be raised concerning a Child Abuse.

Accident – The lack of intent to hurt the child.
False Accusations – When the truth cannot be anymore further from the allegations.  This is a common defense.
Self Defense – The Defendant merely defended himself or herself from being attacked.

Whatever the situation, the defenses to a Child Abuse case are often an attack on any of the elements of the charge itself.  The elements of a Child Abuse case are complex and it is always up to a strong Criminal Defense Attorney to defend against each of the elements and/or factual discrepancies of a Child Abuse charge.


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