Child abuse, as defined by California law, is the intentional act of applying cruel, inhuman, degrading or corporal punishment upon a minor or child. As a result of these particular acts, the child sustains a traumatic condition. According to Sec 273(d) of the California Penal Code, the said harm should either be visually confirmed or found after internal examination of the child.

There are many ways that this harm is inflicted upon the child. These include hitting, punching, pushing, slapping or kicking a child. This is also done through vigorous shaking of the child, choking, burning or even throwing an object at a child.

Not all physical acts though are considered as violative of this law. Parents are allowed to use some form of corporal punishment to instill discipline upon the child. But if the exercise of such right results in trauma or psychological issues with the child, then the individual performing the disciplining of the child would be made liable under this law.

In order to be convicted of the crime of child abuse, the following facts need to be present and proven:

  • There is a clear intent to apply cruel, degrading or inhuman punishment resulting in injury upon the child;
  • The said injurious acts results in physical and/or psychological trauma upon the child;

The law allows the inclusion of prior or previous acts conducted as proof of the commission of the crime of child abuse. In prosecuting the crime of child abuse, the following are the imposable penalties:

  1. As a misdemeanor offense, the imposable penalty is one (1) year in county prison and payment of a fine amounting to $6,000;
  2. As a felony offense, the imposable penalty is six (6) years in state prison and payment of a fine amounting to $6,000;

A further penalty is probation of up to three (3) years. Furthermore, a protective order would be issued to prevent the convicted parent or adult from having any contact or interaction with the victim/s. Attendance in counseling program for child abusers including mandatory tests for drugs and alcohol for the full term of the probation. As the last part of the penalty, community service would be required of the convicted felon.

The crime of child abuse is a serious offense in California. Should you be or know anyone facing any of these charges, do reach out to the lawyers at the Law Offices of Ramiro J. Lluis for a free consultation today.