Child Endangerment is best defined as the act of causing or allowing a child under the care and custody of the Defendant to undergo inexcusable pain, either physical or mental, or to be placed in a situation where the child’s health is endangered.  This is also called the also known as willful harm to a child.

Child Endangerment can be charged as a Felony or a Misdemeanor, depending on the other factors that are alleged against the Defendant in the Complaint.

Elements of a Child Endangerment charge

There are different elements that must be proven in a Child Endangerment case. The following are the elements that the Prosecution must prove against the Defendant concerning a Child Endangerment charge:

Willfully causing or permitting a child in the Defendant’s care to be placed in a situation where the child’s person or health is endangered;
Willfully causing or permitted a child in the  Defendant’s custody to have his or her person or health injured; OR
Willfully causing or permitting a child to suffer unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering; OR
One of the most common cases of Child Endangerment is the failure of a spouse to prevent the other spouse  from inflicting harm to their child or to a child under their custody.

Punishment for Child Endangerment

Child Endangerment can be prosecuted as a Felony or a Misdemeanor.  The following are the penalties concerning a Child Endangerment charge.


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


Two, four, or six years in State Prison

Defenses to Child Endangerment Charges:

There are two main defenses when it comes down to Child Endangerment cases and they are the following:

Accident – This is the defense raised when the Defendant did not deliberately commit an act to endanger the child.  This  defense is raised when the individual failed to act, but did not intentionally endanger the child.
False Accusation – This occurs when the Defendant is being falsely accused of a crime.
When facing such charges, it is important to hire an experienced Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney.


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