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Child Abuse Laws in California - Penal Code 273d PC

The Crime of Child Abuse in California - PC 273d

Penal Code 273d PC – California Child Abuse Laws
Penal Code 273d PC makes it a crime to inflict physical injury or cruel punishment on a child.

If you are facing child abuse allegations, it a very sensitive situation with potentially harsh legal consequences.

Therefore, it's critical to consult with a Los Angeles child abuse attorney immediately. Our society, including judges, prosecutors and juries, have an extremely negative view of anyone even suspected of abusing a child.

A child abuse charge is typically associated with a domestic violence offense, which means that just an allegation will trigger a police investigation, even when the alleged victim denies any abuse.

Defining Child Abuse Criminal Charges in Los Angeles

California Penal Code 273d defines a child abuse case as the act of physically injuring or imposing cruel physical punishment on a child not considered reasonable discipline, which could include:

  • Striking a child with a belt to discipline them;
  • Slapping a child with enough force to leave a physical mark;
  • Willfully inflicting any cruel and inhuman punishment causing injury to a child;
  • The punishment caused the child to suffer a traumatic physical condition.

Cruel and inhuman punishment is a broad legal term. While not specifically defined, it's a key element the prosecutor has to prove in a child abuse case in Los Angeles County.

Some examples  could include choking a child, aggressively shaking a child, hitting, slapping, or kicking a child, pushing a child down, or throwing objects at a child. Spanking a child for discipline is not typically considered child abuse as long as it's reasonable. 

In a child abuse case, willfully means your act was on purpose.

Legally, it does not matter whether or not you actually intended to cause injury to the child, as long as you intended to do the actual act that caused the physical injury. Under California law, a child is anyone under the age of eighteen. Penal Code 270 PC defines the crime of child neglect.

Legal Consequences for a Child Abuse Conviction

In the Los Angeles County court system, child abuse is a “wobbler” under California law. This means the prosecutor can choose to file the case as a misdemeanor or felony case depending on:

  • The specific circumstances of the alleged child abuse case,
  • The criminal history of the defendant.

If the defendant is convicted of a misdemeanor child abuse case, the penalties can include a sentence of up to one year in the Los Angeles County jail and a fine of up to $6,000.

If convicted of a felony offense, the defendant could face a sentence of two, four, or six years in state prison and a fine of up to $6,000. If the defendant has a prior child abuse conviction, the jail sentence can be increased by four years.

If you are an undocumented immigrant and convicted of domestic violence, you could face immigration consequences, such as deportation. 

Legal Defenses Against Child Abuse Criminal Charges

At the criminal defense law firm of Eisner Gorin LLP, an experienced Los Angeles child abuse attorney will need to thoroughly review all the specific details in order to determine an appropriate legal defense strategy.

Typically, most child abuse cases are related to a domestic violence conflict. Your defense lawyer may be able to argue that a member of your family accused you of child abuse for other motives, such as revenge, anger, jealousy, or it's connected to an active child custody case

History of Success Defending Clients Against Child Abuse

Los Angeles domestic violence attorney and law firm partner, Alan Eisner, represented our client who was charged with child abuse in the Torrance Superior Court.

The accusations were connected to an incident where the wife called police to accuse him of striking there two children. When police arrived at their home, they did not observe any physical injuries.

It was discovered by our defense lawyers the wife had a history of making false child abuse allegations after divorce proceedings were filed.

After each accusation, the Los Angeles County Department of Child and Family Services conducted an investigation and determined the allegations unfounded. In spite of this evidence, the prosecutor refused to drop the child abuse case.

Therefore, Mr. Eisner decided to take the case to trial. During the week long trial, he presented testimony of the two children, as well as the older sister, who all testified on his clients behalf. In the end, the jury found his client not guilty. 

Call a Los Angeles Child Abuse Defense Attorney 24/7

If you are under criminal investigation or have already been charged with child abuse, call a skilled Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer at our law firm immediately.

Our attorneys have years of experience defending clients against any type of domestic violence case.

As former LA County prosecutors, we know how to defend even the most serious child abuse allegations.

Call our attorneys for a free immediate response at 877-781-1570.

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