The holiday month kicked off with a not-so-festive video that was uploaded on Facebook by an unknown man, pressuring a toddler, who is wearing diapers, to smoke what appears to be a marijuana blunt. The video was uploaded in the Chicago, Illinois area and drew such a national public outrage, that the Chicago Police Department is now looking for the man who uploaded the video. Additionally, detectives with the Area South Special Victims unit have become involved to investigate the footage. A spokesperson for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services also would not confirm whether they will be investigating the video, and the Attorney General’s office announced that it would not.
It is unknown when the video was taken or uploaded, but the man who filmed it may face child endangerment charges if caught. The man behind the camera is heard telling the toddler “smoke” and “inhale.” When the video ends the man appears to be saying “let me hit that.”
California Child Endangerment Law
In the state of California, child endangerment is generally defined as when someone:
- Causes or permits a child to suffer unjustifiable physical suffering;
- Willfully causes or permits a child in their care to be injured;
- Willfully causes a child to be placed in danger. See California Penal Code 273a.
Child endangerment is a “wobbler crime,” meaning it can be either a misdemeanor or felony depending on the circumstances. Typically, if there was no risk of bodily harm or injury to the child, it is charged as a misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in county jail and a fine of $1,000. A conviction will also come with informal probation for a minimum of four years, a protective order issued against you, and likely mandatory counseling. An act that results in bodily injury or death to a child is a felony, punishable by up to six years imprisonment and fine up to $10,000. However, you will have to undergo four years of formal probation. Additionally, a felony conviction counts as one strike for California’s three strikes law.
Different from Child Abuse or Neglect
Unlike child abuses or neglect, the California statute does not require there to be actual injury in order for one to be convicted of child endangerment. It is therefore fairly easy for one to face prosecution and conviction for child endangerment.
San Diego Child Endangerment Defense Lawyer
California’s child endangerment laws are no joke. Even if you did not intend for your actions to endanger a child, you must still take any accusations very seriously. Oftentimes, a cry of “Wolf” can ruin someone’s reputation and sever their familial relationships. If you or a loved one is facing child endangerment, child neglect or abuse charges, contact the Law Offices of David M. Boertje today. Mr. Boertjie will make sure your rights are protected and your voice heard. Consultations are free and confidential.