According to California penal code 273d PC, imposing cruel physical punishment on a child is illegal. Corporal punishment is a crime that has many different definitions, and it’s typically considered child abuse when corporal punishment is used on a child. This is a dramatic and tragic way to discipline or treat a child, and California courts are not amused when people are brought in on child abuse charges. Children are meant to be cared for, loved, and provided for. They are not meant to be abused.
What is child abuse under Penal Code 273d?
There are dozens of different types of abuse against a child, but this specific penal code is typically used to describe physical abuse against a child that is not considered sexual or emotional. Child abuse in this manner is only physical, and it can include any type of physical contact with a child meant to cause harm and pain.
– Slapping a child hard enough to leave a mark on their body
– Beating a child
– Kicking a child
– Using a belt on a child
– Leaving bruises on a child
– Physical fights with teens
There are dozens of different ways you can cause harm to a child that are considered child abuse, and they are all frowned upon in a court of law. The penalties for child abuse in California are serious, but they are also dependent on various mitigating factors within each case of child abuse brought before a judge.
Penalties for Child Abuse in California
Child abuse is a serious crime, but it’s a wobbler crime in the State of California. This simply means it can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the specifics of the case and the decision of the prosecuting attorney. Some of the factors that might play into the decision of the attorney are your criminal history, the age of the child, the extent of the injuries, and even the story the child tells.
If you are charged with child abuse as a misdemeanor, you could face as long as a year in jail. If you are charged with child abuse as a felony charge, you could face prison sentences in increments of two years up to six years. Keep in mind this is per charge. If you are charged with six counts of child abuse in California and the judge decides you should face the maximum sentence for each charge, you’ll be issued six counts of child abuse each worth six years in jail for a grand total of 36 years in prison.
Defenses Against Child Abuse
Purposely and intentionally abusing a child is wrong, but there are circumstances when this is simply not what happened.
– The allegation against you are completely false and any bruises on the child are either self-inflicted or issued by someone other than yourself
– The child’s injuries are not abuse-related
– You were within your right to discipline your child
– You didn’t cause the injuries on purpose
For example, if your child has injuries on his or her arms that are consistent with being grabbed hard enough to leave bruises in the shape of handprints, it might not be child abuse. If you grabbed the child and shook him violently before throwing him to the ground and kicking him, it’s abuse. However, if you suddenly and forcefully grabbed the child because he or she was about to run into oncoming traffic, you did not intend to cause these injuries.
Child abuse is a very specific charge, and it is one that typically includes the maximum punishment. Courts of law do not look favorably upon child abusers, and both a judge and jury might automatically judge you for your actions before they hear your side of the story simply because the abuse of a child seems unthinkable to many. You do have rights, and one of those rights is to contact an attorney to represent you in court. Do this when you are offered an attorney for the best possible results. Your attorney can work to gather evidence, to fight for you, and to prove you are not guilty of child abuse.