near me
California Child Neglect Laws | Penal Code 270 PC


According to Penal Code § 270 PC in California, child neglect occurs when a parent or legal guardian deliberately and willfully (and without lawful excuse) fails to provide essential things like clothing, food, medicine, and shelter to a child under their care. This offense is typically considered a misdemeanor and could lead to a maximum sentence of one year in jail.

In the State of California, the government aims to uphold both parents’ rights to raise their children according to their beliefs and the children’s rights to essential care. This means that while parents have the freedom to raise their kids as they think best, they are also legally obligated to ensure that their children’s basic needs are taken care of.

When a parent willfully and without lawful excuse fails to provide necessary care or remedial care to a child they are responsible for, whether as a parent or legal guardian, they might be charged with a crime known as child neglect under Penal Code 270 PC. If found guilty, they could potentially face serious consequences including county jail time and fines of up to $2000 for each instance of neglect.

Other remedial care can include spiritual treatment through prayer in accordance with the practices of a recognized church.

The term “parent” for a minor child encompasses anyone who is legally accountable for the child’s upbringing. This includes:

  • Biological parents
  • Adoptive parents
  • Foster parents
  • Anyone who presents themselves as a parent
  • The spouse of a pregnant woman, even if the child isn’t biologically related to him, provided they are currently residing together.

Important: If a parent cannot make enough income or does not have enough assets to provide the child’s basic needs, in which case the parent has a “lawful excuse” and won’t be charged with a crime.

Lawful excuse refers to a situation in which a parent has reasonably done everything possible to provide for the child but cannot do so.


In order to demonstrate that a parent is legally responsible for not fulfilling their obligations toward their minor child, a prosecutor needs to confirm the following points:

  • The accused individual was indeed the parent of a child who is under 18 years old.
  • The accused individual neglected to provide something essential for the child’s well-being.
  • The neglectful act by the accused individual was intentional and lacked a valid reason under the law.

Necessities are the essential things a child needs, like clothes, food, a place to live, medical care and other remedial care for their minor child. Sometimes, these needs can also include spiritual care like prayer if it’s done according to a recognized church’s practices.

A parent is responsible for doing what they can to provide these necessities for their child. If a parent can’t provide these things despite trying their best and it’s not their fault, they have a valid reason. This might be because they can’t earn enough money or don’t have the income or belongings to cover the costs. However, it wouldn’t count as a valid reason if the parent spent money on unnecessary things or didn’t try to find a job.



Lisa is accused of child neglect under Penal Code 270 PC in California. Lisa, overwhelmed by personal issues, begins consistently failing to provide her 8-year-old daughter, Emily, with the basic necessities she needs for a healthy life. Lisa’s financial struggles lead to inadequate food and clothing for Emily, and she often misses school due to these challenges. Additionally, Emily’s medical needs are neglected, as Lisa doesn’t seek proper medical attention when Emily falls ill. The living conditions in their home deteriorate, with a lack of proper heating and sanitation.

Authorities become aware of the situation after Emily’s teacher notices her declining attendance and physical appearance. The school reports the concerns to Child Protective Services. Upon investigation, it becomes evident that Lisa’s actions, or lack thereof, have put Emily’s well-being at significant risk.

In this case, Lisa could be charged with child neglect under Penal Code 270 PC. While she might argue that her own personal difficulties were the cause of these problems, the law requires parents to ensure their children’s basic needs are met, regardless of personal challenges. If convicted, Lisa could face legal consequences, including potential jail time and fines.



Child neglect is considered a “wobbler” offense, which means it can be treated as either a more serious felony offense or a less severe misdemeanor. The choice depends on the specific details of the situation and whether the person accused has a history of criminal activity.

In most situations, when someone is charged with child neglect according to PC 270, it’s treated as a misdemeanor. This can lead to penalties such as fines that go up to $2000 and a possible county jail time of up to one year for each instance of neglect. However, there are cases where it can be treated as a felony:

  • When you refuse to accept legal responsibility for the child, often related to paternity disputes.
  • When the court establishes you as the legal parent despite your denial.
  • If you consistently fail to meet the child’s basic needs even after being legally recognized as their parent.

In the rare situation where you’re convicted of felony child neglect, the consequences can be more severe. This might involve spending a year in county jail initially, followed by a year and a day in state prison. On top of this, there could be a fine of up to $2000.


Child Protective Services (CPS) has the authority to intervene when there are concerns about a child’s well-being. While their primary focus is on cases of apparent abuse, they also consider the failure to provide essentials like food, clothing, shelter, or medical attention as a form of neglect, as outlined in California Penal Code 270 pc. However, CPS’s approach is usually supportive. Their initial efforts are geared towards assisting families to ensure the child’s needs are met within their home environment. Only when these measures prove insufficient, and the child’s safety is at risk, might CPS consider removal as a final measure.



There are several potential legal defenses that can be used against charges under Penal Code 270 PC, which pertains to child neglect in California. It’s important to remember that the effectiveness of these defenses depends on the specific circumstances of the case. Consulting with a criminal defense attorney who is familiar with California law is essential for personalized guidance. Some possible defenses include:

  • Lack of Willful Neglect: Child neglect charges require that the neglect was willful, meaning it was intentional or purposeful. If the accused can demonstrate that they did not willfully neglect the child and had legitimate reasons for their actions (or lack thereof), it could be a defense.
  • Lack of Control or Responsibility: If the accused does not have legal custody or control over the child and cannot be reasonably expected to provide care, they may have a valid defense. For example, if someone is falsely accused of neglecting a child under their care, they could argue they weren’t responsible for the child’s wellbeing.
  • False Accusations: Sometimes, false allegations or misunderstandings can lead to charges of child neglect. If evidence can be presented to prove that the accusations are baseless or motivated by ulterior motives, it can serve as a defense.
  • Emergency Situations: If the accused was in a genuine emergency situation that prevented them from providing care for the child, this could be used as a defense. For instance, if they were seriously ill or injured and unable to attend to the child’s needs temporarily.
  • Inability to Provide Due to External Factors: If the accused can demonstrate that they were genuinely unable to provide care or necessities for the child due to factors beyond their control, such as lack of resources, it could be a defense.
  • Parental Rights and Custody: If the accused is not legally recognized as the child’s parent or does not have legal custody, they may have a defense against the charges, as they might not have the legal obligation to provide care.
  • Mental Incapacity: If the accused suffered from a mental illness or impairment that affected their ability to provide proper care, this could be used as a defense, especially if they were not capable of understanding their responsibilities.
  • Evidence Suppression: If evidence was obtained unlawfully or in violation of the accused’s rights, it might be possible to suppress that evidence, which could weaken the prosecution’s case.

Keep in mind that laws and legal strategies can vary, so seeking professional advice is essential.


Child neglect, when charged and convicted under California PC 270, could potentially result in negative immigration consequences for non-U.S. citizens. Depending on the circumstances of the case, a conviction for child neglect might be considered a crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT). Crimes of moral turpitude can have serious immigration repercussions, including:

  • Deportation: A CIMT conviction can make a non-U.S. citizen deportable, which means they could be subject to removal proceedings from the United States.
  • Inadmissibility: A CIMT conviction can also render a non-U.S. citizen inadmissible to the United States. This can affect someone’s ability to enter or re-enter the country, apply for a visa, or adjust their immigration status.
  • Cancellation of Removal: Non-U.S. citizens who have been in the U.S. for a certain period and meet specific criteria might be eligible for cancellation of removal proceedings. However, a CIMT conviction could make them ineligible for this relief.
  • Asylum and Other Forms of Relief: Certain immigration benefits, such as asylum, might be denied or adversely affected by a CIMT conviction.
  • Naturalization: If a non-U.S. citizen is seeking to become a U.S. citizen through naturalization, a CIMT conviction could affect their eligibility.


Yes, it is possible to get an expungement if you’ve been convicted of child neglect. Expungement is a positive step because it alleviates many of the difficulties linked to a conviction. Hiring an Expungement Lawyer is crucial in child neglect cases in Los Angeles, California.

A judge can approve an expungement if you have successfully finished:

  • The probation period assigned,
  • or The jail sentence you received (whichever was ordered).


If you are in need of a skilled and dedicated criminal defense lawyer to handle cases involving child neglect crimes, Cyrus Tabibnia is your trusted advocate. With a strong commitment to justice and a proven track record in criminal defense, He offers comprehensive legal representation tailored to your specific situation.

Child neglect cases require a delicate and knowledgeable approach, and Cyrus Tabibnia has the experience necessary to navigate these complex legal issues. With a deep understanding of both the legal intricacies and the sensitivity required in such cases, he ensures that your rights are protected at every step of the legal process.

Cyrus Tabibnia’s approach is characterized by:

  • Expertise: With a wealth of experience in criminal defense, he has an in-depth understanding of the legal framework surrounding child neglect crimes. He stays updated on the latest laws and regulations to provide the most effective defense strategies.
  • Dedication: He is committed to each client’s case, working tirelessly to build a strong defense that takes into account the unique circumstances and nuances of your situation.
  • Compassion: Recognizing the emotional complexities that often accompany child neglect cases, Cyrus Tabibnia offers empathetic support throughout the legal journey, ensuring that you feel heard and understood.
  • Strategic Approach: He develops personalized defense strategies tailored to the specifics of your case, analyzing evidence, witnesses, and circumstances to build the strongest possible defense on your behalf.
  • Negotiation Skills: Cyrus Tabibnia is a skilled negotiator, working to secure favorable outcomes through plea bargains or reduced charges whenever appropriate and in your best interest.
  • Courtroom Experience: Should your case go to trial, his extensive courtroom experience equips him to advocate vigorously for your rights in front of a judge and jury.

When facing child neglect crime allegations, you need Los Angeles child abuse defense lawyer who will stand by your side, fight for your rights, and offer unwavering support. Cyrus Tabibnia is that advocate, ready to provide you with exceptional legal representation, guidance, and the best possible defense in your crime against children case. Contact Cyrus Tabibnia today to take the first step towards safeguarding your future.

Tabibnia Law Firm is based in Santa Monica and serves clients throughout Southern California. Call or law firm at 866-713-2159 for a confidential initial consultation, or you can complete and send us your query through the contact form.

Report child abuse at the National Child Abuse Hotline.

Cyrus Tabibnia

Cyrus Tabibnia

Tabibnia Law Firm retains years of experience successfully representing individuals charged with misdemeanor and felony crimes,Theft Crimes, Crime Against Children, Driving Crimes, Rape Crimes, driving under the influence (DUIs), domestic violence cases, drug possession cases, state and federal crimes, white color crimes, driving on a suspended license offenses, violent crimes, sex crimes, Forgery and all other criminal defense cases throughout Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Orange County, San Fernando Valley, Ventura County, Riverside County, San Bernardino, Van Nuys, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills. An expungement attorney in Los Angeles who can assist you in clearing your criminal record in the state of California. Call for a consultation today: 866-713-2159

    Get A Case Review Today

    Please prove you are human by selecting the Tree.

    EXCELLENT rating
    Based on 28 reviews
    Let’s be real needing a Criminal Defense Attorney is always unexpected and stressful. If the unexpected happens call Cyrus, he is extremely knowledgeable and professional. Grateful we had Cyrus on as a defense Attorney!
    Isaac Lopez
    Isaac Lopez
    18 September 2023
    Cyrus is the best criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles, California. As a satisfied customer, I can confidently say that his expertise, dedication, and unwavering support are unmatched. His in-depth knowledge of the legal system, combined with his relentless advocacy, makes him the go-to choice for anyone facing criminal charges. With Cyrus by your side, you can trust that your rights will be fiercely protected, and your future will be in the most capable hands. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend him to anyone in need of exceptional legal representation."
    Christian Horniman
    Christian Horniman
    11 September 2023
    Several years ago, I was contending with a serious legal issue. Out of the blue, I became aware that a corporation had obtained a large civil money judgment against me, in court, and on a case I was not aware of. When I became apprised of the judgment and the company's efforts to enforce the debt against me, I became angry and concerned. How would this case and judgment affect my financial future? Was there any way to fix this? I approached several other attorneys for assistance, but they all said the same thing: that because the judgment was over a year old (almost 2 years old, actually) it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to remove the judgment and to re-open the case. Given what other attorneys had told me about my case, I was not hopeful. But I decided to turn to and hire the Tabibnia Law Firm because I was aware of their strong reputation in both civil law matters and criminal defense cases. Mr. Tabibnia went out of his way to fight for me. To my great surprise, he convinced the court to set aside the judgment against me and to re-open the case. And months after getting the case re-opened, I was astonished when he then got the case completely dismissed! So, I went from having a large money judgment against me to getting the judgment removed and case dismissed in a matter of months. Throughout the process, I found Mr. Tabibnia to be honest, aggressive, competent and extremely fair with his fees. Most importantly, he kept me informed throughout the case. I cannot recommend the Tabibnia Law Firm highly enough.
    Arian T
    Arian T
    27 August 2023
    Hello Mr. Attorney Shahruz Tabibnia. I Wanna To Say All People..!! Mr. Attorney Shahruz Tabibnia Is Amazing Profecianal Attorney With High Knowledge.!! Mr. Shahruz Tabibnia Is Very Honest And Espricual Attorney.!! I Had Very Hard Case In The Court But Mr. Shahruz Tabibnia With His Knowledge And His High Experience Helped Me To Become Winner My Case In The Court.!! I'm Really Appriciated Mr. Shahruz Tabibnia. Thank You For Help Me To Winner My Case.!! I Look Forward To Work With You . Best Regards. Mike P.
    Mike Panadar
    Mike Panadar
    24 July 2023
    I had the pleasure of working with the Cyrus at Tabibnia Law on my case and I could not have been more pleased with the results. From the start, he gave my case the time and attention it deserved and showed a deep understanding and knowledge of the law. He provided clear guidance through the entire process and was always available to answer questions and provide legal advice. He really went the extra mile to make sure I got the best possible outcome and was extremely understanding and patient, always taking the time to explain the details and nuances of the law to me. I am very grateful for his expertise and the care they took in my case and it was definitely worth every penny. I highly recommend his services and would not hesitate to use him again in the future. Tabibnia Law is truly a top-notch law firm and I am so thankful to have worked with them.
    F V
    F V
    15 March 2023
    Having never needed a lawyer before, and being very scared and confused, I reached out to Cyrus after reading some outstanding reviews online. Cyrus gave me peace of mind and made me feel like I was in good hands. I highly recommend and I will probably use them again for any future legal needs that may arise. Thank you Cyrus.
    Ehab Totri
    Ehab Totri
    9 March 2023
    HIGHLY RECOMMEND CYRUS! I have been working with Cyrus on a bank fraud case and you will not be disappointed. He is nice and very humble. I never had a problem trying to get a hold of him. Cyrus is in top of your case and answers to emails/text messages promptly. Well talented attorney and his professionalism is to the next level. He is affordable and would work with you depending on your situation.
    13 September 2022
    This correspondence shall serve to memorialize that Cyrus is a excellent attorney, I recommend Cyrus because he is intuitive and has great communication skills. Cyrus is very honest and will never drag a case just to make more money
    Bobby Vafa
    Bobby Vafa
    29 July 2022
    I am here, writing on the behalf of Mr. Cyrus Tabibnia. From the very first moment we formally introduced ourselves to one another, I felt nothing but sincerity and authenticity from this man. At that very moment I knew, that this was the person ideal to represent me and to do diligence. In which in fact he did do so. He was able to significantly get my DUI and Car Theft charges reduced from felonies to misdemeanors and with one case, completely dismissed. I was not only impressed and satisfied completely, but I was not suprised one bit with the outcome. I highly suggest this gentlemen if you are in deed seeking counsel from someone who legitimately cares, and who will go the extra mile and above and beyond for you.
    DJ Cab
    DJ Cab
    7 July 2022

    Recent Posts

    Practice Areas

    Locations We Serve