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OC Child Endangerment Lawyer

Protect Your Relationship With Your Children

Child endangerment is a crime that can result in years in jail and can even prevent from seeing your children for many years. Several other related offenses, including child abuse, lewd acts with a minor, and domestic violence, carry their own consequences that may affect you and your family. With over a decade of winning experience in the courts of Orange County and others in Southern California, our firm is here to help secure the best outcome in your case.

If you've been arrested, you need to contact the OC child endangerment defense attorneys at Law Office of Michael L. Guisti immediately. In these cases, you want to protect the interests of your child and the future of your family. You do not have to take on these allegations alone – seek our experienced legal representation today!

Call us today at (714) 530-9690 or toll-free at (888) 478-8999 to discuss your case in a free case evaluation!

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What Is Considered Child Endangerment in Orange County?

According to California Penal Code §273(a), it is illegal for any individual to place a child in a situation where he or she can suffer great bodily harm or death, or to willfully cause unjustifiable harm to a child. This can include a variety of circumstances, such as:

  • Intentionally harming a child in an act of child abuse or molestation
  • Inflicting “mental suffering” upon a child in a domestic violence situation
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs with a child in the vehicle
  • Driving recklessly with a child in the vehicle
  • Leaving a child in a hot car with the windows up
  • Abandoning a child at a mall, grocery store, or other premises
  • Allowing a child to play with a deadly weapon
  • Lying about a child’s age to let him/her access an amusement park ride
  • Using drugs while taking care of a child
  • Overmedicating a child

To charge you with child endangerment, the prosecution must prove that you willfully inflicted harm on the child – whether physical or mental – or that you put the child in a situation where he or she could be injured. A police officer can arrest someone at the scene of an incident if they see him or her do the following:

  • Inflicting unjustifiable (extreme) physical pain/mental suffering on a child.
  • Allowing the child, or health of the child, to suffer injury.
  • Allowing/causing the child to be in a situation where body or health may be endangered.

A person can be charged with child endangerment if they are shown to do any of these things. You do not have to directly break a law or injure a child – willful, deliberate action that inflicts harm to a child may be grounds for child endangerment. In addition, child endangerment differs from child abuse because abuse requires a child to actually suffer an injury, while endangerment does not.

An important element of these cases is whether you acted willfully or with criminal negligence. Simply put, if you intentionally caused harm to a child, you may be charged for acting willfully. However, even if you did not intend to harm the child, if you acted with criminal negligence, then you could also be charged with child endangerment. “Criminal negligence” refers to any action a reasonable person would not take in a similar situation -- and an action that shows a disregard for human life or safety. Driving recklessly or illegal drug use are just two examples of criminal negligence.

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Consequences for a Conviction

Child endangerment is a wobbler, meaning it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Typically, if the child did suffer an injury or could have died, the prosecution will pursue a felony charge.

Misdemeanor child endangerment can result in:

  • Up to six months in county jail
  • Up to $1,000 in court fines
  • Modification of custody rights and potentially being served a protection order
  • Probation for at least four years
  • Counseling and other requirements based on your actions

A felony will likely lead to a loss of child custody rights and comes with harsh penalties, like:

  • Up to two, four, or six years in state prison
  • Up to $10,000 in court fines
  • Probation for at least four years
  • Potential strike under California’s Three Strike Law
  • Counseling and other requirements based on your actions

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Child Endangerment Defenses

Due to the broad nature of the law, innocent parents or caretakers can face hefty prison sentences in child endangerment cases. Even if your actions were a simple mistake, an Orange County court may still want to put you behind bars and restrict your right to see your child.

Do not let your relationship be destroyed by a criminal case. Instead, trust the dedicated legal team at Law Office of Michael L. Guisti, where our lead attorney can employ several defenses on your behalf:

  • You did not act willfully or with criminal negligence.
  • The child did not suffer physical harm or mental harm.
  • You were reasonably disciplining your child.
  • You were falsely accused.
  • The child suffered an injury due to an unrelated accident or another individual’s actions.

If your charge is based on another underlying crime, such as a DUI or drug offense, then we can work to get it dismissed, which may resolve the endangerment charge as well.

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Dedicated OC Defense for Your Family

Child endangerment can result in a misdemeanor or felony charge, depending on the situation. Because of this, it is important that your case be handled by a firm that has experience in child endangerment defense and can protect your rights. The attorneys at Law Office of Michael L. Guisti have more than ten years of experience handling difficult child endangerment cases with success. Call our OC criminal defense law firm today at (714) 530-9690 or toll-free at (888) 478-8999 and schedule a free consultation.

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Whether you're facing a felony or a misdemeanor, don't risk a conviction. Act quickly to redeem your reputation and protect your record by consulting with our Orange County criminal defense lawyer. Call today to schedule your free consultation.

(714) 530-9690

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Client Reviews

“It was strongly recommended that I call federal defense attorney Michael L. Guisti. He had several investigators look at records and such, and my federal case was dismissed. Michael Guisti does what few attorneys can do, beat the federal government, and that is why if you’re in trouble with the government you need to call Michael Guisti right away!”

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“I had everything to lose, my future, my education. Basically I did something that got me a misdemeanor, and the judge wanted to give a guilty plea. But Michael Guisti would not back down. Instead he fought for me, and now my record is clean.”

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“Back in 2003 I was facing attempted murder. My family hired Michael Guisti to represent me. He is a very good attorney. He always answered my calls, addressed my questions and concerns, and kept me updated about my case. Thank you Michael Guisti for winning my case. I highly recommend anyone facing a criminal charge to see Michael Guisti.”

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Case Results

sex crimes

Case Dropped

Young man charged and arrested for sexual battery.


Case Dropped

Man charged with assault with a deadly weapon for hitting someone in the face with a heavy metal dust pan.

drug crimes

Served Less Than 30 Days in Jail

Young man charged with selling 1000 tabs of ecstasy to undercover officer.

Attempted Murder

Reduced to Assault With Deadly Weapon

Young man knocks the eye out his victim with a metal pipe. Charged with attempted murder and aggravated mayhem. Both cases carried life sentences.

Assault & Battery

Serves 80 Days on Work Furlough

Woman arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon using scissors on a co-worker.

Vehicular Assault

Serves 80 Days on Work Furlough

Man charged with three felony counts of vehicular assault with a deadly weapon.


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OC Child Endangerment Attorney Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

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