Child Endangerment: CA Penal Code 273(a)         

Child Endangerment laws make it a crime to endanger the health or life of a child through an adult’s recklessness or indifference. California Penal Code 273(a) punishes acts of child endangerment. Simply put, this crime occurs when an individual either (1) places a child in a dangerous situation, or (2) allows a child to be placed in a dangerous situation without taking steps to protect the child.

Common examples of child endangerment include:

  • Leaving a child unattended in a motor vehicle
  • Driving while intoxicated with a child in the motor vehicle
  • Hiring a person with a known history of sexual offenses as a childcare provider
  • Serving alcohol to an underage driver
  • Leaving a young child unsupervised or in the care of another young child
  • Unreasonable corporal punishment resulting in bodily injury
  • Drug manufacturing in the presence of a child
  • Leaving a young child unsupervised in an unsafe area
  • Failure to report suspected child abuse

If convicted of felony child endangerment, your sentence may include any or all of the following:

  • a minimum of four years on formal probation,
  • two, four, or six years in the California state prison,
  • a maximum $10,000 fine,
  • all of the terms and conditions outlined above under the “misdemeanor penalties” section (except for the portion of the potential sentence that dealt with the fine and jail time),
  • an additional and consecutive three to six years in prison if you inflict great bodily injury or harm on the alleged victim, and (under these same circumstances),
  • a possible “strike” on your record under California’s Three Strike’s Law.