Under California law, child endangerment is considered a felony (CA Penal Code §273(a)) when the child in question has merely been placed in a dangerous situation – not only when the child has been actually harmed. Many people every year are falsely accused of child endangerment or are harshly prosecuted beyond the bounds of reason.
This may be what happened to Alissa Charlene Anderson, a 22-year-old mother who has recently been accused of this crime. An anonymous citizen claims to have seen a child fall out of the hatchback of Anderson’s van while it was moving. Based on this tip, local law enforcement officials followed Anderson to her home on 82nd Street, where they proceeded to arrest her.
Felony charges of child endangerment are quite serious; in fact, they fall under the umbrella of domestic violence laws in the state of California. Even though the child was deemed unhurt by several different medical personnel on the scene, based on the statement of the supposed eye witness, Anderson is in danger of losing not only her freedom, but also her other children who have already been taken into custody by child protective services. The police officers involved in the case have also made mention of the fact that they believe Anderson was in possession of “dangerous narcotics,” although even they admit that the possession of dangerous drugs charge may be extreme. Anderson faces a 2, 4, or 6 year sentence in state prison if convicted, leaving her children without a mother for that time period and forcing them into the foster care system.