Some laws exist to protect those who need the most protection. That is why there are laws designed to protect the elderly, the disabled and children. Violations of those laws are generally punished severely.
The goal of protecting children is so important that California and many other states have designated certain professions as “mandatory reporters,” meaning that if a person in that job role suspects certain crimes have been committed, that person is required by law to inform law enforcement. Mandatory reporters who fail to report certain suspected crimes could face criminal charges themselves.
Most people know that mandatory reporters must report suspected child abuse. However, a lot of people do not realize that mandatory reporters must also report suspected child pornography activity. When Assembly Bill 1775 took effect in 2014, it expanded the Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act (CANRA) to include the production, printing or distribution of child pornography.
Who are Mandatory Reporters in California?
The following groups of people are mandatory reporters under CANRA:
- Medical professionals, such as doctors and nurses
- Mental health professionals, including psychologists, psychiatrists, and therapists
- School teachers and administrators
- Clergy members
- Daycare workers
- Film processors and computer technicians
- Social workers; and
- Emergency response personnel such as police officers and firefighters
This means you are required by law to inform law enforcement if you are employed in one of the above professions and you know or reasonably suspect someone has committed any of the following crimes:
- Child sexual abuse, such as rape, sodomy or lewd acts involving a minor
- Child abuse, including hitting the child
- Child neglect, OR
- Downloading, streaming, accessing or producing media that depicts a child under the age of 18 engaging in sexual activity
What Happens if a Mandatory Reporter Fails to Report a Crime?
If you are a mandatory reporter and you fail to report a crime that you knew or reasonably suspected was committed, you could be charged with a misdemeanor offense. Under CANRA and California Penal Code Sections 11164 through 11174.3, you must report suspected child pornography offenses or child abuse crimes within 36 hours of becoming aware of the facts leading you to suspect that the crime was committed.
Failure to report a crime as a mandatory reporter could result in a sentence of up to six months in county jail and up to $1,000 in fines. In addition, if your occupation requires a professional license (such as a medical license), the case can be referred to the agency that controls your license for further discipline. This means your career could be in jeopardy as a result of you failing to report a crime.
That is why you should act now if you are a mandatory reporter accused of failing to report a crime. Speak to an experienced criminal defense lawyer about your case immediately.
Contact the Sex Crimes Defense Lawyers at Wallin & Klarich Today
The state of California takes mandated reporting very seriously. Failing to fulfill your duty as a mandatory reporter could affect your career and your freedom. This is why you should not speak to an experienced sex crimes defense attorney if you have been charged with failing to report.
At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled sex crimes attorneys have more than 35 years of experience successfully defending clients facing criminal charges. Let us help you now.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, West Covina, Torrance, Los Angeles and San Diego, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich sex crimes defense attorney available to help you no matter where you are located.
Contact our offices today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.