Child Abuse
Lawyer California

Accusations of child abuse and neglect can lead to criminal penalties and a tarnished reputation.

If you're facing child abuse allegations, the attorneys at The Dadvocates can provide sound criminal defense representation.

Men all over California can count on our lawyers for legal counsel on child abuse charges. Book a case review with The Dadvocates today.

The Legal Definition of Child Abuse

According to California Penal Code 273d, child abuse is when a person willfully inflicts cruel or inhuman corporal punishment or an injury resulting in a traumatic condition on a person under 18 years old.

This legal definition covers a broad range of non-accidental actions and behaviors, not all of which involve corporal injury or physical harm.

What the Prosecution Must Prove
In a Criminal Child Abuse Case

Individuals facing criminal charges of child abuse—meaning physical injury to children—in California may be convicted if the prosecution can convince a jury that these three things occurred:

Cruel or inhuman physical punishment or injury of a minor was willfully—meaning not accidentally, but purposely—inflicted by you. California law does not specifically define “cruel or inhuman physical punishment or injury.” A jury will decide whether the alleged actions fit this description.

A traumatic physical condition resulted from the injury or punishment. Wounds ranging from minor to serious resulting from physical force can be considered a traumatic condition.

You weren't applying reasonable discipline to the minor when you acted. In California, corporal punishment (such as confining a child or spanking) is legal. “Reasonable discipline” is another term lacking a concrete definition under California law, and the jury will determine if it accurately describes your alleged actions.

Given that multiple pertinent elements of these cases are subject to the interpretation of a jury, you need an attorney well-versed in criminal defense who can make certain that the facts of your case are presented clearly.

Failure to Report Child Abuse

You may be charged with a criminal offense if you fail to report any signs of abuse to Child Protective Services (CPS) or the proper authorities. This is especially true of mandated reporters. Mandated reporters are people in professions involving frequent contact with children, such as teachers, social workers, child care providers, physicians, therapists, or law enforcement officers.

Request a Confidential Consultation Speak With Our Attorneys About Your Case

Any allegations of child abuse, neglect, or sexual assault need to be taken seriously. A conviction can change your life, your career, and your family. The Dadvocates are here to help.

Our lawyers can assist men in San Diego, Los Angeles, the Central Valley, the Bay Area, and beyond who have been charged with the abuse or neglect of a child. We will carefully review the allegations against you and note any applicable defense strategies. We'll provide a robust defense, and help you understand all of your legal options throughout the proceedings.

Speak with lawyers who prioritize the legal needs of men. Contact The Dadvocates for a legal consultation. You can also reach our California law office by phone.

(818) 824-5800

Standing with Men All Over California The Attorneys at The Dadvocates Can Help You


Ruben Figueroa

Woodland Hills, CA


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I couldn’t have picked a better law firm. I did months of research before finally choosing The Dadvocates and I’m so glad I did. The overall experience was great. The staff is very professional and attentive to my needs or questions and concerns. 

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Woodland Hills, CA


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After having numerous issues with my previous counsel I hired TheDavocates lawfirm. Joel and Adrine kept me advised of the progress, always returned my calls and emails. I will refer the firm to friends and family if they are needed. Thank you!

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Is Child Abuse a Misdemeanor or a Felony?

In California, child abuse is considered a "wobbler" offense. This means it can be charged as a misdemeanor or as a felony. Prosecutors consider the nature of the alleged abuse and the criminal record of the accused when deciding on misdemeanor or felony charges.

Penalties for Child Abuse in California

Misdemeanor Child Abuse

Misdemeanor child abuse penalties include up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $6,000.

Felony Child Abuse

Depending on the nature of the offense, felony child abuse penalties include up to two, four, or six years in jail and a fine of up to $6,000.

Greater Penalties for Prior Convictions

If the defendant in a child abuse case has a previous child abuse conviction within the last 10 years, an additional four years will be added to their jail sentence.

Child Abuse and Probation

Judges may sentence a defendant to summary/informal probation (misdemeanor child abuse) or formal probation (felony child abuse) instead of imprisonment. The probation conditions may involve:

  • Minimum probation term of three years
  • Regular reporting to a probation officer
  • Protective order for the victim of abuse
  • One-year counseling program for child abusers
  • Random drug testing if applicable to the abuse charges

Penalties for Failing to Report Abuse

If you are a mandated reporter who failed to report signs of abuse or neglect, you can be charged with a misdemeanor. Penalties for failing to report child abuse include a fine of up to $1,000 and up to six months in jail.

Our Law Firm Is Here to Help Contact Our Lawyers to Fight Your Abuse Allegations

Child abuse and sexual abuse convictions carry significant legal, financial, and personal ramifications. You need attorneys who can provide a strong legal defense and who are familiar with the nuances of the California Penal Code. Whether you live in Los Angeles, San Francisco, or another California city, the lawyers at The Dadvocates can help with your case. Contact our law firm or call our office to request a case evaluation.

(818) 824-5800

Whether you live in Los Angeles, San Francisco, or another California city, the lawyers at The Dadvocates can help with your case.

Child Abuse and Parental Rights The Effects on Your Family Dynamic

Accusations of child abuse and neglect carry more than just criminal penalties. Like any domestic violence charges, allegations of abuse, neglect, or sexual abuse of a child can lead to a divorce. These criminal allegations can also affect any existing divorce agreements you have with your former spouse, putting your role as a father at risk.

The lawyers at The Dadvocates can help you consider the impact these criminal allegations have on family law matters. Our attorneys have helped dads from Southern California and Northern California weigh their options carefully.


If there's evidence of child sex abuse or harm to a child, a domestic violence restraining order may be filed against the alleged abuser. This helps provide protection from potential endangerment for the time being, and legally compels the restrained person to avoid contact. The restrained person may even be forced to move out of the home.

Should divorce proceedings follow, a spouse may attempt to deny the alleged abuser custody and visitation rights, citing the continued safety and best interests of their child.

Whether you are the alleged abuser or are protecting your family from abuse, the lawyers at The Dadvocates will help you understand the legal proceedings ahead.

Child Custody

In addition to seeking sole custody during a divorce, child abuse and sexual abuse allegations can play a role in modifying existing custody arrangements. If a spouse finds evidence of abuse or neglect, they can ask that custody arrangements be changed to deny the alleged abuser any access to their child.

Our attorneys have worked on numerous child custody cases. If you are a father accused of abuse, our lawyers will help find a solution that allows you to play a role in your child's upbringing. If you are a father protecting your child from an abusive spouse, we can help you seek sole custody for your child's continued health and well-being.

Child Visitation

Visitation rights allow non-custodial parents to have access and time with their child. However, these visitation rights can be restricted or denied if there is a physical, psychological, or sexual abuse case against the non-custodial parent. If the non-custodial parent isn't denied visitation access, the court may require strictly supervised child visitations.

The attorneys at The Dadvocates understand the best interests of children as well as the important roles that parents play in the upbringing of their kids. If you have been accused of abuse or neglect, we can advocate for continued visitation with supervision. If your former spouse has been abusive, we can restrict access for the well-being of your child.

Maintain Your Rights as a Father Contact The Dadvocates Today

Don't let child abuse allegations destroy your reputation as a father. The Dadvocates can assist you with your criminal abuse or neglect charges as well as any family law disputes that arise from these allegations. Our lawyers can help fathers from Los Angeles to Sacramento hold on to their rights as parents.

Don't delay. Contact our attorneys for a case evaluation. You can also reach The Dadvocates by phone:

(818) 824-5800

Our lawyers can help fathers from Los Angeles to Sacramento hold on to their rights as parents.

Common Child Abuse Defense Strategies

During your legal consultation, our criminal defense attorneys will review the circumstances of the charges and any relevant statutes in the California Penal Code. We can then devise a proper defense strategy for your abuse case.

Our child abuse attorneys have years in legal practice and can anticipate various arguments by the prosecution. We may use some of these common defense strategies in your case.

Fighting False Allegations

In some cases, the child abuse and sexual abuse charges are entirely fabricated. The motives for falsely accusing someone of child abuse can vary. If you are involved in a heated divorce or custody battle, your former spouse could concoct a false allegation and leverage that to deny you access to your child. False allegations could also be levied to harm your reputation and affect your career prospects.

The attorneys at The Dadvocates will review the claims against you and demonstrate that they are fictitious. Our law firm can help clear your name and hold the person who levied these accusations against you accountable.



Making a false child abuse allegation is a crime punishable by a fine up to $1,000 and up to six months in jail.



Our lawyers can note your right to discipline your child within reason, and that discipline does not necessarily constitute abuse.

Parental Right to Discipline

Parents have a right to raise their children however they wish, which includes corporal punishment for discipline. Spanking and the threat of spanking are not illegal so long as the punishment was not excessive and did not cause lasting injury to the child. These distinctions can feel ambiguous to those unfamiliar with California child abuse laws.

Our lawyers can help demonstrate that the line between discipline and child abuse was not crossed. We can emphasize the reasonable nature of the discipline, and the lack of lasting negative effects on the physical or mental health of your child.

Injury Not Caused by Abuse

Just because a child has suffered an injury does not mean the injury was the result of abuse or neglect. Physical harm to a child could be the result of an accident around the home, a vehicle collision, or an incident at school or daycare. None of this automatically constitutes abuse or neglect, even if you were present when your child sustained the injury in question.

Our defense attorneys can note the circumstances surrounding your child's injuries. We can present evidence that proves you were not willfully harming your child or negligent in your role as a parent or caregiver.

Our child abuse attorneys have years in legal practice and can anticipate arguments by the prosecution. 

Child Abuse and DUI

If you were arrested under suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs while transporting a minor, it can enhance the penalties of the DUI and result in separate charges of child endangerment. A misdemeanor child endangerment conviction in California is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and 6 months in county jail. Felony child endangerment is punishable by up to $10,000 in fines and a 6-year prison sentence. Of course, all repercussions of a DUI, regardless of who else is in the vehicle, can have a serious impact on your access to your children, your job prospects, and much more.

Driving under the influence is a serious offense that places others in danger; it is especially heinous when it places a child in danger, and deserving of harsh penalties. However, it is a well-known fact that law enforcement's means of determining that a driver is impaired are imperfect, and can easily result in innocent people suffering consequences they do not deserve.

The Dadvocates is a firm providing men and fathers throughout Los Angeles and the entire state of California with the defense they need when facing DUI charges. We work with lawyers who understand police protocol and can identify when mistakes place clients' liberty in jeopardy. If you are facing child endangerment charges related to DUI charges, our attorneys can provide the comprehensive legal advocacy you need and deserve. 

From Los Angeles to Sacramento, The Dadvocates Are There

"I had false domestic abuse accusations thrown at me suddenly in the middle of my divorce. Amy waded in there like Godzilla, systematicly destroying witness after witness, and each false claim. My ex wife had two lawyers, whom had the advantage of being able bounce ideas off each other, and had two sets of eyes on everything in court. Amy had no backup, and solod them both. I saw my kids the very next day for the first time in 112 days."

Kevin H., 5-Star Google Review

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The Dadvocates

The Dadvocates are the only lawyers exclusively focused on protecting the rights of fathers. Our attorneys have received awards and prestigious recognitions from Super Lawyers, Avvo, and the National Academy of Family Law Attorneys. We assist dads in a variety of legal matters, including:

You can request a consultation with our firm by filling out our online form or calling (720) 749-2876.

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