Navy Sailor Could Face Charges For Felony Child Endangerment
Paramedics and police were recently dispatched to a home near Mountain Pride Park to investigate reports of an injured child. When they arrived on the scene, responders found a boy in need of immediate and significant medical attention. The boy’s parents, a Navy sailor and his girlfriend, were questioned and subsequently arrested on suspicion of child abuse. If charged, the sailor and his girlfriend could face serious consequences, including time in prison, probation, and even loss of the custody of their son.
California is tough on crime. This is especially true when children are the victims of those crimes. Studies have shown that when children are victims of abuse they are more likely to develop emotional, cognitive, and behavioral problems. Child abuse can even result in a disruption of brain and physical development. California, by enacting laws that severely punish convicted child abusers, has indicated that the state has an interest in protecting children from these and other negative consequences.
The Navy sailor and his girlfriend were arrested and booked on suspicions of child endangerment. Specifically, they may face charges for inflicting great bodily injury on a person under the age of 10. In California, child endangerment is considered a crime of domestic violence. To be convicted of child endangerment, the prosecution must prove that the Navy sailor and/or his girlfriend:
- Caused or permitted their son to suffer unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering;
- Willfully caused or permitted their son to be injured while in their care; or
- Willfully caused or permitted their son to be placed in a dangerous situation.
A conviction does not require that the offender actually engages in physical abuse. If, for example, it is determined that the Navy sailor did physically abuse his son he could face child endangerment charges. His girlfriend could face the same charges if it is determined that she allowed the child to endure that abuse.
In California, the crime of child endangerment is generally a misdemeanor offense. However, if the child is at risk of great bodily harm or death the crime becomes a wobbler. This means that it can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. The specific circumstances of each case will dictate the severity of the charge. The Navy sailor and his girlfriend were booked on suspicion of inflicting great bodily harm. The Navy sailor’s son reportedly suffered injuries so severe that emergency medical professionals were forced to pump his chest and hook him up to an IV. He was initially examined at the Temecula Valley trauma center before being airlifted to Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego. The next day the boy was described to be in “grave condition.”
The prosecution will likely seek felony child endangerment charges against the Navy sailor and his girlfriend because of the extent of the boy’s injuries. In California, felony child endangerment carries a possible sentence of two to six years in California state prison, fines of up to $10,000, and at least four years of formal probation. If the Navy sailor and/or his girlfriend are convicted of felony child endangerment and it is determined that they actually inflicted great bodily harm, they may face an additional three to five years in California state prison. The death of their son, if it happens, could add another four years to that term for each violation. California could also pursue manslaughter or murder charges against the parents.
The consequences of a conviction for child endangerment in California have the potential to change a person’s life forever. San Diego prosecutors will aggressively pursue the maximum penalties allowed by the state for any child abuse cases they handle. These can include lengthy terms of imprisonment, fines, probation, and even the loss of custody or visitation.
If a court feels that a child is in danger it will take steps to ensure that the child is protected. Not all cases of child endangerment are legitimate. In many cases, family disputes can lead to heated arguments and false accusations, made with the intent to hurt the other parent. The best way to fight charges of child endangerment is to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney at Law Office of Vikas Bajaj, APC.