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Child Endangerment Charges

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Mark Broughton > Child Crimes > Child Endangerment

What is Child Endangerment?

Child endangerment, Penal Code 273a, is when someone willfully brings pain, suffering, or danger to a child. Child endangerment differs from child abuse. Child abuse is when someone actually physically harms a child, where child endangerment is just the possibility of serious danger or harm. Because no harm needs to befall on the child, child endangerment is often charged against innocent people.

Child endangerment can be charged against any adult, not just the child’s parents. It is typically charged against someone who has a child under 18 in their care. Child endangerment can be charged if any of the following are true:

  • An adult causes a minor to suffer inexcusable physical pain or mental suffering
  • An adult willfully causes or allows a minor to be injured
  • An adult willfully causes or allows a minor to be put in a dangerous situation


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Penalties for Child Endangerment


As a Misdemeanor

Child endangerment is charged as a misdemeanor if there was no possibility of death or great bodily injury to the child. The penalties can include up to one year in county jail and/or a fine up to $1,000.


As a Felony

Child endangerment can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony if there is a risk of death or great bodily injury to the child. It is up to the prosecutor which one it is charged as. If charged as a felony the penalties can include 2, 4, or 6 years in a California state prison and/or a fine up to $10,000.



Sometimes judges will sentence the defendant to probation if convicted of child endangerment. This could either be misdemeanor probation or felony probation depending on how the case was prosecuted. When sentenced to probation, the defendant will do little or no jail time. There could be other conditions the defendant has to abide by such as restraining orders, counseling, or random drug testing.

Legal Defenses for Child Endangerment

In order to be convicted of child endangerment, the defendant has to have acted willfully and/or with criminal negligence. It could be that the child was injured by accident or ordinary negligence.

Parents do have the right to discipline their children in California through reasonable corporal punishment or physical punishment. Discipline could be inflicted through spanking, using a belt or paddle, sending a child to bed without dinner, making a child stay in his or her bedroom.

It is very common for someone to be falsely accused of child endangerment. These false accusations could even come from a child, especially if a child is angry at his or her parents. False accusations also come from caretakers in order to cover up their own abuse to the child.

It is required by law that doctors, teachers, and clergy report suspected child endangerment to the authorities. This can lead to “mistake of fact” because the situation has been misinterpreted.

Have you been legally accused of committing child endangerment? If you have been arrested or charged with a crime, it is essential to obtain legal council for help. It’s important to take your charges seriously. Don’t just hope for the best. Hire an attorney who understands your situation and the consequences you face.

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Phone: 559-691-6222

Your Defense Attorney for Child Endangerment Charges

I’m Mark A. Broughton and I’m here to fight for you. I have been a defense Attorney for 40+ years and have represented thousands of people accused of crimes. I have extensive experience representing citizens charged with Felonies, sex crimes involving minors, violent crimes, and crimes involving great bodily injury to name a few.

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About Mark Broughton:

Compassionate, highly experienced, exceptional reputation, ethical and honest:

Mark Broughton has been practicing law for over 40 years. He estimates that he has conducted over 200 jury trials – everything from DUIs, drug cases, sex cases, domestic violence, assaults, “three-strikes,” dozens of cases involving criminal street gangs, gun/deadly weapons, drive-by shootings, robberies, attempted murders, and murders, including special circumstance murder cases.

He has received many outright Not Guilty verdicts for his clients in all of these types of cases, including several murder cases – at one time between 2005-2007, the jury found his clients Not Guilty in four separate cases in a row.

Mark Broughton is qualified as a death penalty lawyer and is on the special circumstances/death penalty panel of attorneys in Fresno, California, where he is regularly appointed to special circumstances/death penalty murder cases by the Fresno County Superior Court.

Other Qualifications:
  • Certified Specialist Criminal Law, State Bar of California
  • Board of Trustees, State Bar of California
  • Chairman, Fresno County Bar Association, Criminal Law Section

Mark Broughton enjoys close relationships with his clients.  He sees every individual’s situation with compassion and empathy and believes that every person has the right to a fair trial and is innocent until proven guilty.

Above all, he enjoys helping reunite his clients and their families during and after dealing with perhaps the most difficult time in their lives, going through the challenging criminal process with them.

Practice Areas

  • Federal Crime 40%
  • White Collar Crime 20%
  • Violent Crime 20%
  • Criminal Defense 10%
  • Sex Crimes 10%

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