Law Office of Michael L. Fell
900 Roosevelt Irvine, CA 92620
(949) 585-9055

Ask an Attorney: Is it Legal to Spank a Child?

There was a time that it seemed everyone spanked their child. These times have passed. In many European countries, it is illegal to spank a child for any reasons. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child outlawed any physical discipline for a child – even by their parents. That said, many American parents do spank their children at some point and many believe it is a good form of discipline.

Though it may be less common, it is not unheard of. Many people wonder: Can spanking be punished in a criminal court in California? The truth is that it is currently legal for parents to spank their children in their homes in every state. However, some states have outlawed it in certain places – but where? Keep reading to get the answers to this and other questions related to spanking. If you need a free case evaluation, contact Law Office of Michael L. Fell at (949) 585-9055 right away.

What Rights Do a Parent Have to Spank Their Children?

As mentioned above, every state allows limited rights for parents to spank their children. The U.S. Courts have determined that parents have the constitutional right to raise their children however they see best. This includes the method of discipline they determine is best. However, it must be done in moderation and it cannot cause injury.

California law allows for “reasonable and age-appropriate” spanking as long as the child does not suffer a serious physical injury as a result. For example, it is legal to lightly spank a six-year-old on the bottom if there is no lasting discomfort, but if that same six-year-old was spanked with a belt that led to bruising, it may be considered child abuse.

The Fine Line Between Spanking and Abuse

Whether or not it is legal to spank a child depend on how serious it is and the line between legal and illegal can be a fine one. In most cases, judges and prosecutors will decide on a case by case basis. If the discipline is found to have caused an injury (not just discomfort), the police feel the force used was unreasonable, or the purpose was something other than correcting behavior, the parent could potentially be charge with assault, battery, domestic violence, or child abuse.

Different Rules for Non-Parents

If you are not the parent of a child then you should not spank them. It is that simple. This includes child care workers, aunts and uncles, babysitters, school employees – it is not worth the risk. If you have been accused of child abuse then we recommend you contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. You can reach Law Office of Michael L. Fell by calling us at (949) 585-9055 for a free legal consultation.

Law Office of Michael L. Fell - Criminal Defense Lawyer

Michael L. Fell

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