On behalf of Law Offices of Kathleen G. Alvarado posted in criminal law on Friday, July 20, 2018.

Of late, there have been stories in the news about pretty flagrant cases of child abuse or neglect. These stories likely shock and anger Riverside residents, even if they do realize in the back of their minds that the accused still have the right to a fair trial and an opportunity to tell their side of the story.

However, it is important to remember that not all cases of child abuse or neglect or so clear cut. California’s child endangerment law is broad, as it can include situations in which a parent, caregiver or other adult does not even physically injure a child but only causes mental suffering.

The endangerment law can also be enforced against a parent who, while supposedly in charge of a child, allows the child to be put in a situation where the child could be hurt.

The penalties for violating this law are strict. In some situations, violating this law can land a person in prison for 6 years per offense. One can also face probation terms that will include counseling and other restrictive conditions.

Finally, a person who gets convicted of child endangerment will have to live with the stigma of being labeled a child abuser, and this can have significant professional and personal ramifications. One such ramification is that it might be harder to have contact with even one’s own children except on the most restrictive of conditions.

Because the law is broad, it is unfortunately relatively easy for a parent to get accused of abuse by an overly zealous or even well-intentioned investigator who may have just not understand the full picture of what happened. In this sort of situation, a parent is well-served by seeking the advice of a criminal law attorney.