San Jose Child Abuse Lawyer

Child abuse and child endangerment charges unfortunately get thrown around during a divorce or heated child custody dispute in an effort to discredit one parent. These charges can have a long lasting impact on the parent-child relationship if they result in a conviction. A parent convicted of child abuse or child endangerment may be unable to receive visitation with their child in the future, or may only receive visitation with the observation of a specialist. If you have been charged with child abuse or child endangerment, it is important that you contact a San Jose child abuse attorney as soon as possible to work to prevent the charge from becoming a conviction.

California Child Abuse

California maintains a roster of child abuse convictions through the Child Abuse Central Index to protect children from future abuse. Once you receive a child abuse conviction, your name will permanently be placed on this list, which can impact your future career and your ability to receive custody of your children. It is therefore extremely important to take any child abuse charge seriously, hire a seasoned San Jose child abuse attorney, and work to prevent a conviction from occurring.  * If you have a pending criminal case concerning the child abuse allegations you aren’t going to be able to get a hearing fight the pending child abuse allegations with the California Department of Social Services.

Upon suspicion of child abuse, a California county agency will launch an investigation into the alleged abuse. Child abuse can include physical abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect of a child. If the abuse is substantiated, the child may be removed to foster care or other child welfare organizations. If you have been convicted of child abuse, you may petition to get your name removed from the Index, although this can be a lengthy process.

California Child Endangerment – Penal Code section 273a

Child endangerment is similar to child abuse, although the crime does not require that the child suffer an actual injury. Child endangerment includes causing a child to suffer physical pain or mental suffering, willfully causing a child to be injured, or willfully causing a child to be placed in a dangerous situation. It is easy for individuals to face a child endangerment charge during a divorce or other child custody battle since child endangerment does not require actual injury to the child. Examples of child endangerment can include leaving a child with an inexperienced babysitter, driving with a child in the car while under the influence, or leaving a child in a home with easy access to lethal weapons. Unfortunately, children get brought into these heated child custody battles through the manipulation of parents. Therefore, it is important to inform a San Jose child endangerment attorney of all the facts in the case in order to come to the best defense.

Generally, in order for the prosecution to prove a charge of felony child endangerment, the prosecution needs to show that:

<Alternative A—inflicted pain>

[1. The defendant willfully inflicted unjustifiable physical pain or

mental suffering on a child;]

<Alternative B—caused or permitted to suffer pain>

[1. The defendant willfully caused or permitted a child to suffer

unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering;]

<Alternative C—while having custody, caused or permitted to suffer


[1. The defendant, while having care or custody of a child, willfully

caused or permitted the child’s person or health to be injured;]

<Alternative D—while having custody, caused or permitted to be placed

in danger>

[1. The defendant, while having care or 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;]


  1. The defendant (inflicted pain or suffering on the child/ [or]

caused or permitted the child to (suffer/ [or] be injured/ [or] be

endangered)) under circumstances or conditions likely to

produce (great bodily harm/ [or] death)(;/.)

<Give element 3 when giving alternatives 1B, 1C or 1D>


[3. The defendant was criminally negligent when (he/she) caused or

permitted the child to (suffer/ [or] be injured/ [or] be


<Give element 4 when instructing on parental right to discipline>


  1. The defendant did not act while reasonably disciplining a child.]

A defense to either misdemeanor or felony child endangerment is that the parent can use physical force to discipline the child without it being child endangerment.  Whether the amount of force used is reasonable is a questioner the jury to decide.

If a defendant is convicted of misdemeanor child endangerment then the defendant can face up to 1 year in the county jail, a $1,000 fine before assessments, at least 1 year of parenting classes and 4 years of supervised probation.  If convicted of a felony, the defendant can face up to either 2, 4 or 6 years in state prison.  Additionally, the court can issue a stay away and no contact order from the child.

Ahmed and Sukaram Law | San Jose Child Abuse Lawyer

If you have been charged with child abuse or child endangerment, do not hesitate to contact the attorneys of Ahmed and Sukaram. Our San Jose criminal defense attorneys have years of experience in handling child abuse and endangerment cases and will assist you in putting together your case after carefully examining the facts of your case. Both child abuse and child endangerment can result in felony convictions, which not only lead to prison time, but can affect your future employment opportunities and your ability to maintain contact with your children. Contact our San Jose office today for your initial free consultation.