While parents have the right to use physical force when disciplining their children, domestic violence charges may be brought if the abuse is directed at the child. You should contact a skilled child abuse attorney in Ontario, CA, immediately if you have been accused of a crime. 

Allowable Punishment vs. Abuse of Children

A parent may employ physical punishment or discipline on their child when necessary. This means that the law does not necessarily consider spanking a child or striking a child with a paddle or similar object to be illegal child abuse.

Penal Code Section 273d

To prove a violation of California Penal Code Section 273d PC, the prosecution must show that the defendant willfully or intentionally subjected a child to “cruel or inhuman” physical punishment, that the sentence resulted in a traumatic physical condition, and that the defendant was not reasonably disciplining the child at the time of the incident.

Investigation and Arrest for Alleged Child Abuse

When a required reporter, like a teacher or nurse, discovers signs of child abuse, including bruises or cuts, or when a child reports being harmed at home, police are sometimes called in to investigate. As part of their investigation, the police will speak with parents and children living there. The Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (“DCFS”), which will conduct its investigation and may propose that the children be removed from the house and placed in a safe setting, will also be notified of the situation.

The prosecutor will analyze the case and decide whether or not to file criminal charges. The prosecutor can file felony child abuse charges if the underlying conduct is extreme or the offender has a history of aggressive behavior. 

Los Angeles’ Countermeasures for Child Abuse

There are several possible lines of attack when defending someone accused of child abuse. False accusations are common in cases like these, especially when they involve allegations of child abuse that surface during divorce procedures. In such situations, proof of fabrication or exaggeration would be required.

Furthermore, there may be instances where the defendant’s actions are legal and justified. The defendant is not guilty of child abuse in these cases.

California’s Penalties for Abuse of Children

A felony conviction for child abuse has a maximum prison term of six years; for a repeat offender, that number increases to ten. In addition to parenting programs and possible jail time, defendants convicted of misdemeanor child abuse may face mandatory incarceration.