Child abuse and neglect is a very serious crime in Michigan. Depending on the circumstances of an alleged offense, you could be looking at jail or prison time. Defending yourself against a child abuse charge can be difficult, especially when it involves the testimony of a child. Cases of child abuse can involve beating, neglect, endangerment & more. Even if charges are not filed, your parental rights may also be threatened in this type of case. Child Protective Services will investigate allegations of abuse & neglect.
Facing a child abuse allegation is stressful, but with the representation and legal counsel from The Law Offices of Mais & Sible, Attorneys at Law, you can count on us to rigorously defend you in court. Don’t let a child abuse charges tear you & your family apart, call us today at (269) 983-0151.
What is Child Abuse & Neglect
Michigan Law define child abouse & neglect as “harm or threatened harm to a child’s health or welfare that occurs through non-accidental physical or mental injury, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, or maltreatment, by a parent, a legal guardian, or any other person responsible for the child’s health or welfare or by a teacher, a teacher’s aide, or a member of the clergy.”
Severity of Child Abuse & Neglect Charges
When determining the level of severity regarding the child abuse charges, the Child Protective Services (CPS), courts, law enforcement, and prosecutors heavily consider the severity of the child’s injuries and the alleged circumstances surrounding the cause of the injuries. These cases begin with CPS investigations, and so the CPS findings are given substantial consideration. In general, and according to Michigan Penal Code § 750.136b, the following definitions generally correspond to the alleged crime’s severity:
Cruel - Actions that are brutal, inhuman, sadistic, or that which torments
Omission - A willful failure to provide food, clothing, or shelter necessary for a child’s welfare or willful abandonment of a child
Physical Harm - Refers to any injury to the child’s physical condition
Serious Physical Harm - Refers to any injury that seriously impairs the child’s health, including, but not limited to, brain damage, a skull or bone fracture, subdural hemorrhage or hematoma, dislocation, sprain, internal injury, poisoning, burn or scald.
Serious Mental Harm - Refers to any injury to the child’s mental condition that leads to a temporary or permanent, visibly demonstrable manifestation of a substantial disorder of thought or mood which significantly impairs judgment, behavior, capacity to recognize reality, or ability to cope with the ordinary demands of life.
Penalties for Child Abuse Charges
Corresponding with the above definitions, some specific charges and their associated punishments for child abuse include:
1st Degree Child Abuse - This charge can occur when a person willfully and knowingly causes serious physical or mental harm to a child. This is usually filed when there is evidence of brain damage, broken bones, or injury to internal organs. The punishment can result in life imprisonment or any term of years.
Child Degree Child Abuse - This charge can occur when a person’s omission causes serious mental or physical harm, a person’s reckless act causes serious mental or physical harm, or a person knowingly or intentionally commits an act that is likely to cause harm, regardless of whether harm actually occurred. The punishment can result in up to 10 years imprisonment for a 1st offense, and 20 years for a 2nd offense.
3rd Degree Child Abuse - This charge can occur when a person intentionally causes harm or commits an act that poses an unreasonable risk of harm.. The punishment can result in up to 2 years imprisonment.
4th Degree Child Abuse - This charge can occur when a person’s reckless act or omission causes physical harm or commits an act that poses an unreasonable risk of harm.. The punishment can result in up to 1 year of imprisonment.
Child Abuse & Neglect Lawyers in Michigan
At The Law Offices of Mais & Sible, Attorneys at Law, we understand how difficult a child abuse allegation can be. We are here to vigorously defend your case, investigate the charges, and guide you through the legal process, whether in a criminal court hearing or a CPS hearing. Call The Law Offices of Mais & Sible, Attorneys at Law today for an appointment.