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    Los Angeles Child Abuse and Child Endangerment Defense Attorneys

    We are a Team of Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyers Who Help People Accused of Child Abuse and Child Endangerment

    An accusation of child abuse or child endangerment is a serious and often complicated situation for everyone involved. There is a big difference between the two offenses, and each has its own set of legal ramifications. If you are convicted of either, you can face significant consequences, including jail time and even the loss of your parental rights.

    If you or a loved one has been accused of one or both of these offenses, it is important to start formulating a defense as soon as you can. A Los Angeles experienced criminal defense attorney can help. Don’t hesitate to contact the Law Offices of David S. Chesley to schedule a free case evaluation with an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles.

    Child Abuse

    In California, child abuse is defined as the physical abuse of a minor. Parental discipline and caregiving are given great deference by courts, but a physical manifestation of injury is considered abuse. Any parent, stepparent, family member, caregiver, etc. may not injure a child but may use reasonable physical discipline with a child in their care. In order to convicted of child abuse, your actions must be intentional. This means the intention to do the action, not the intent to harm your child. The injury could be minor, such as a bruise or scratch, or serious, such as fractures or broken bones. Some of the actions that may bring a cause for child abuse include:

    • Burning
    • Choking
    • Hitting
    • Kicking
    • Shaking
    • Slapping
    • Pushing
    • Throwing an item at the child


    A wide range of penalties may result from a child abuse conviction. Some of the situations you may be facing include:

    • Physical Abuse – misdemeanor carries a maximum of one year in county jail, felony carries up to six years in State prison
    • Battery – misdemeanor carries up to six months in county jail, felony ranges from two to four years in State prison with probation and counseling typically required for either charge
    • Lewd Acts – jail time ranges from one year in county jail to eight years in State prison and up to $10,000 in fines
    • Statutory Rape – misdemeanor carries up to one year in county jail, felony up to fours years in state prison


    A conviction generally results from actions resulting in traumatic conditions from cruel and inhumane punishment. However, child abuse charges may be filed for something like bruising on your child after being shoved. This type of charge may not be enough to result in a conviction. Some defense strategies may turn on insufficient evidence, lack of witnesses, or false accusations unsubstantiated by the evidence.

    It’s important to note that child abuse charges provide different rules for prosecutors when presenting evidence against you. Prior bad acts can be used to prove character traits in these cases, unlike normal criminal proceedings. Past convictions of child abuse or allegations that did not result in convictions are admissible in court, along with evidence of domestic violence in certain circumstances to show tendencies of violent conduct on your part. Penalties can be severe in these cases which make it so important to contact an experience Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer to build a strong defense to any charges brought against you.

    Child Endangerment

    In California, child endangerment does not require physical injury but applies to a much wider range of behavior. The law prohibits the following types of willful or negligent behavior situations:

    • Inflicting physical pain on a child
    • Inflicting mental suffering on a child
    • Permitted physical pain or mental suffering on a child in your care or custody
    • Permitted a child in your care or custody to be put in a dangerous situation

    The offense involves placing a child in a situation where you should have known the potential for an unjustifiable infliction of pain, even if no infliction actually occurred. Although a child endangerment charge may not carry the same severity of punishment as a child abuse charge, a conviction is serious and may result in lifelong consequences for you and for your family.


    A child endangerment case may be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the degree of potential physical harm placed on the child. If exposure to the risk of serious injury occurred, prosecutors will likely elevate the offense to a felony charge. At times this may be downgraded to a misdemeanor through a plea agreement with the help of a defense attorney in California. Some of the penalties attached to a conviction may include the following consequences:

    • Misdemeanor
      • Up to one year in county jail
      • Fines up to $1000
      • 48 months of probation
      • Required child abuse treatment program
      • Possible restraining orders limiting access to your child
    • Felony
      • Up to six years in State prison
      • Fines up to $10,000
      • 48 months of probation
      • Required child abuse treatment program
      • Possible restraining orders limiting access to your child

    The California Three Strikes Law applies to felony convictions in these situations. The law requires twice the amount of time in state prison for a second felony conviction and a minimum 25-year prison sentence for a third felony conviction.


    It’s possible to enter a plea agreement in order to reduce the charges against you or receive alternative sentencing in place of jail time, such as counseling and probation. Some of the defenses you may use are the following:

    • Action was unintentional – you did not intend to place your child in a harmful situation
    • No gross negligence – your conduct did not display a conscious disregard for human life
    • Right to discipline – the action was appropriate under the circumstances and within your rights as a parent
    • Allegations without merit – the facts of the case are unfounded, based on wrongful motivations, or in retaliation for a disagreement such as custody

    Accusations of child abuse or child endangerment can have lasting consequences even without a guilty conviction. The stress on your reputation, family, and other personal relationships is significant and becomes even more so when criminal charges are filed. Loss of custody or visitation of your child while charges are pending often also occurs, creating further familial disruptions.

    A Los Angeles criminal defense attorney can work with Child Protective Services and other parties involved to defend your rights and gain access to visitation or remove the restricting conditions placed on your relationship with your child altogether. The Law Offices of David S. Chesley will use their skilled knowledge in this area of the law to provide the best outcome possible for you and your family.

    Contact a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation

    If you or a family member is facing formal child abuse or child endangerment charges or is under investigation for possible charges, it is crucial to seek out legal counsel right away. A Los Angeles experienced criminal defense attorney can help you understand your rights and discuss the facts and circumstances of your case. Charges of this nature are serious and can result in lifelong repercussions for you and your family. The Law Offices of David S. Chesley can help you build a strong defense and possibly downgrade your charges or have them dismissed altogether. Contact us today at 800-755-5174 or visit us online today and fill out our contact form for a free case evaluation.

    Domestic Voilence

    Domestic Violence

    Domestic violence is one of the most commonly reported in California and every year hundreds and thousands of domestic crime cases are registered.

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    Assault and Battery

    Assault and battery are often charged together, but these are not interchangeable criminal offenses.

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    Assault with a deadly weapon

    Assault with a Deadly Weapon

    Being charged with aggravated assault (also known as assault with a deadly weapon), is a serious criminal charge.

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    Resisting Arrest

    When a suspect is uncooperative, dismissive or verbally indignant, some officers take it personally. People who have committed no crime suddenly find themselves facing bogus criminal charges.

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    Criminal Threats

    A criminal threat is often referred as ‘terrorist threat’ in California even though the statute no longer uses this term to define the offense.

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    Unlawful Possession of a Firearm

    Unlawful Possession of a Firearm is strictly illegal.

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    Areas We Serve

    Recent Results

    • Multiple defendants each facing 7 years charged with smuggling prescription drugs into California from Mexico our client was the only defendant who received NO JAIL TIME!

    • Client facing 5 years for possession of deadly weapon we negotiated a plea for NO JAIL TIME!

    • Client facing 3 life terms for multiple felony counts of Child Molestation and Sodomy with child we proved the charges were fabricated by victims mother DISMISSAL of all charges at preliminary hearing!

    • Strike case: Client charged with possession of methamphetamine facing 25 years we filed a Romero Motion which was granted case REDUCED TO MISDEMEANOR!

    • Client’s estranged girlfriend alleged Client broke into her room and choked her facing 14 years in State Prison we won at trial JURY ACQUITTAL.

    • Police allegedly discovered 3 bags of marijuana in client’s glove box faced 6 years we filed a 1538.5 motion to suppress resulting in DISMISSAL of all charges!

    • Client allegedly sold rock cocaine to undercover officer faced 10 years following our argument client received NO JAIL TIME!

    • Client facing 15 years for Armed Robbery we proved misidentification Judge DISMISSED the case!

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