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What is Child Endangerment in California and What Are the Consequences?

HandcuffsFor obvious reasons, the criminal justice system does not take crimes against children lightly, and the potential consequences for crimes involving children are generally much stricter than similar crimes committed against adults. Child endangerment laws are some of the strictest in states like California, where the alleged victim does not even need to have any physical harm for the state to consider an action a crime. This can make it a confusing crime for those who have been charged with it.

 

What Constitutes Child Endangerment?

Under the California Penal code, child endangerment is a domestic violence crime where the accused has caused or allows a child to suffer unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering, causes or allows a child in their care to be injured or even placed in a dangerous situation. Because there is no requirement that the child be injured or that the injury even be caused by the person charged with endangerment, a person accused of the crime may not necessarily be aware they have committed one.

If a person is charged with this crime, they could face up to one year in prison if charged with a misdemeanor. If the child was in no danger of death or serious injury, the person will be charged with a misdemeanor. However, more serious risks to the child or actual injury could lead to a felony charge for endangerment. For felony endangerment, the potential prison sentence could be as much as six years.

Bail Amounts for Child Endangerment

Bail amounts can vary depending upon the county, as each county in California is permitted to set its own bail amounts for the crimes that fall under its jurisdiction. Each county does provide a bail schedule to give defendants an idea of what they could potentially be charged.

Yet, even that is not a 100 percent accurate predictor of what the bail may be, as each county typically provides a range of potential bail amounts. For example, in Los Angeles County, an individual could be charged between $15,000 to $25,000 for bail. Certain factors are weighed to determine the amount, including the severity of the injury or possible injury, whether this is a first time offense, and the likelihood that the defendant will try to flee. Other counties have even higher potential bail amounts for this crime. Sacramento sets theirs as high as $50,000 where Orange and Santa Barbara counties set theirs at $100,000.

Why A Bail Bond Company?

These high bail amounts can make it almost impossible for the average defendant to afford their bail on their own on short notice. Bail bond companies will charge fees that are a fraction bail amount to secure the defendant’s release. These companies allow families and friends to get the release of the person who has been accused.

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