Los Angeles Child Abuse Defense Attorney

Child Abuse Defense

While the law does allow parents to use physical force in punishing their children, there are situations where use of force against a child can result in a domestic violence arrest. Under California Penal Code Section 273d PC, inflicting physical punishment on a child, more commonly referred to as child abuse, is a criminal offense that can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor. If charged in Los Angeles, reach out to our experienced child abuse defense lawyer now.

Permissible Punishment vs. Child Abuse

A parent is allowed to use physical force in punishing or disciplining his or her child. This means that spanking a child or even using a paddle or similar object to strike a child does not necessarily qualify as criminal child abuse under the law.


In order to prove that a defendant violated California Penal Code Section 273d PC, the defendant must have willfully or intentionally inflicted “cruel or inhuman” physical punishment on a child, the punishment caused a traumatic physical condition and when the defendant was acting, he or she was not reasonably disciplining the child.

In many cases, there may be a gray area regarding whether a parent’s disciplinary measures were permissible or whether they crossed the line into child abuse. When determining whether to charge a defendant, prosecutors will consider various factors such as whether the child suffered any injury, whether an object was physically used on the child and whether there is a pattern or history of child abuse.

Child Abuse Arrest and Investigation

In many cases, the police will become involved in a child abuse case after a mandatory reporter, such as a teacher or nurse, notices injuries on a child or is told by the child that he or she is being abused at home. The police will conduct an investigation and will often interview the parents as well as any children in the home. In addition, the case will also be referred to the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (“DCFS”) who will perform their own investigation and may recommend that the children be removed from the home and placed into a safe environment.

The matter will be referred to the prosecutor who will review the case for criminal filing. If the underlying conduct involved is especially egregious or if the defendant has a history of violent conduct, the prosecutor may file felony child abuse charges. In other cases, the prosecutor may elect to file the case as a misdemeanor.

Defenses to Child Abuse in Los Angeles

There are a number of defenses that can be raised when defending someone accused of child abuse. There are often false accusations in these types of situations, especially when the child abuse claims arise during divorce proceedings. In these cases, it would be necessary to show that the allegations were fabricated or grossly exaggerated.

In addition, there are circumstances where a defendant’s conduct falls within what is considered permissible under the law. In these situations, the defendant would not be guilty of child abuse.

Child Abuse Penalties in California

If charged as a felony, a child abuse conviction can result in a prison sentence of up to six years and up to 10 years if the defendant was previously convicted of child abuse. Defendants convicted of misdemeanor child abuse can be sentenced to serve time in jail in addition to being required to complete parenting classes.

A child abuse conviction would prevent individuals from obtaining employment in areas such as nursing, teaching or child care.

If you or a loved one have been arrested for child abuse, it is critical that you discuss your case with a qualified lawyer immediately. As a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience, Michael Kraut understands how to effectively represent clients charged with sensitive cases such as these.

For more information about child abuse, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1480, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.

Share |
Client Reviews
Michael Kraut - I cannot thank you enough for all that you did for ​my son. When I came to you I read that you used to be a district attorney but I never knew how much that meant until I watch you in court. I knew it took 3 months but the final day when I heard the judge say that all charges were dismissed it was all worth it! I will always be grateful for all that you did for us.
I hired Attorney Mike Kraut and I'm am so happy and grateful that I did! I was arrested for a DUI because my BAC level was over the .08 limit. I ended up getting a wet and reckless instead of a DUI. I still have to do some classes and I'm on probation, but I do not have a DUI on my record. If you have a DUI hire Attorney Kraut, he definitely knows his stuff!
Avvo User
There aren't enough positive words to write about Mike, but let me be clear that this is the only lawyer worth hiring in Los Angeles. Mike is professional, caring, and an absolute champion at winning in court.
Kyle, Avvo User
Mike Kraut is not a typical lawyer. He is a straightforward person with a true heart and a sympathetic ear. He is also smart and connected and he cares about the people who seek out his help. He got my son out of a jam. He did it quickly and painlessly. I recommend Mike Kraut to anyone that needs his services.
Thank you Mike for helping my son.
Mark, Avvo User
Michael Kraut is a rock star lawyer. I was really happy and satisfied with the results I received from Michael and his team. A few months back I was being accused of a serious felony. Mike gave me sound legal advice and worked diligently to clear my name. Mike was great at always keeping me updated and returning calls. Great, great lawyer I cant say enough about this man!
Eric, Google User
How can I express how relieved and pleased I am with Michael's professional abilities to have my Felony brought down to a misdameanor to a possible dismissal with deferment. With his care my life has been turned around and cannot say how helpful he's been not only in my case but life. He, himself has changed how I view criminal lawyers. Thank you so much Michael!
Owen, Google User
He gave me the peace of mind that my DUI case was going to be resolved. He fought for what it was needed and helped me by answering all my questions. Mike is not an average attorney. He’s a very experienced, honest and straightforward person that is there for you!
Eve Sal