Felony Child Abuse, PC 273a(a)
California makes it a crime to intentionally injure a child, or to put a child in a situation where it is likely that great bodily harm or death will result. Penal Code Section 273a(a)
You can be charged with Felony child abuse if you do any of the following.
- You willfully inflicted unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering on a child; or,
- You caused or permitted a child to suffer unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering; or,
- You, while having care of custody of a child willfully caused or permitted the child's person or health to be injured; or,
- You, while having care of custody of a child willfully caused or permitted the child to be placed in a situation where the child's person or health was endangered.
You must have actually caused pain and injury on the child, or exposed the child to circumstances or conditions likely to produce great bodily injury or death.
Willfully means willingly or on purpose. Great bodily injury means substantial physical injury. It must be great than simply moderate or minor harm. A child is any person under 18 years of age. Unjustifiable means pain or suffering that is not reasonably necessary or is excessive under the circumstances.
This is a very serious charge. It may even be considered a strike if great bodily injury actually occurred. A felony conviction of Penal Code Section 273a(a) can result in probation for a minimum of 4 years, or two, four or six years in State Prison.
Some defenses you may have to this charge include your right to discipline your child. Further, if you did not commit the act willfully, or the act did not arise to the level of criminal negligence, than you should not be guilty of the crime. Children also may make false allegations against their parent or guardian. If you did not do the act, than you are being falsely accused.
If you are charged with Child abuse or Child endangerment, contact a competent criminal defense attorney. Our firm represents the rights of the accused in Fresno, Visalia, Hanford, Bakersfield and the surrounding counties. Let us fight for your rights.