Tragedy struck recently when a 7-year-old girl lost her life in a deadly accident on Interstate 5 in Southern California. The Today Show’s website reported on this incident, revealing that the girl fell out of the open window of an SUV as her mother drove on I-5. After falling out of the vehicle, the girl was hit by several vehicles. Following the incident, the girl’s mother and boyfriend were arrested for child endangerment.
What Is Considered Child Endangerment in California?
In California, child endangerment is defined as a person willfully putting a minor in a situation that may result in the child being in danger, suffering injury, or dying. In some cases, a person can be charged with child endangerment even if they child is unharmed. For example, if a person leaves a loaded gun in a place where their child can easily access it, even if the child doesn’t access the gun, the person could still be charged with child endangerment.
In other situations, the person may be charged with child endangerment even if they didn’t directly cause a child’s injuries. For instance, if a child becomes very sick, and the person doesn’t provide the child with medical care or seek medical treatment for the child, that could be considered child endangerment.
Penalties for Child Endangerment in California
If a person is convicted of child endangerment, the penalties can be severe, including the following:
- Misdemeanor – Up to a year in jail.
- Felony – Up to six years in prison.
What Are the Defenses for Child Endangerment Charges?
If you’re charged with child endangerment, there are legal defenses available to you. An experienced criminal defense attorney can examine your case and help you pursue the best option to defend yourself against the charges. The following are a few common defenses against child endangerment charges:
- Claiming the charges are false
- Claiming that you were not responsible for the child at that time
- Claiming someone coached the child to provide false information that led to the charges
- Claiming the child wasn’t placed in danger on purpose
Speak with Our Santa Barbara Child Endangerment Defense Lawyers Today
Our criminal defense attorneys at Appel & Morse have over 40 years of combined legal experience defending the rights of clients in Santa Barbara and throughout California. A child endangerment charge is extremely serious, and we understand what it takes to defend clients against charges of this magnitude.
We have a long history of securing the most favorable outcomes possible for our clients’ situations. To learn more about Appel & Morse, and how we’ve helped clients facing criminal charges in the past, read our clients’ testimonials.
Give us a call at (805) 467-6060 or contact us online for a free consultation with our experienced child endangerment defense attorneys. We offer flexible appointments, including regular business hours, evenings, and weekends.