As you would expect child abuse and neglect is as serious a crime in Michigan, as it is in all states. A defendant not only faces the possibility of prison time, but also of losing access to his/her family. Neglect, beating, and endangerment are some of the more common examples of child abuse. Parental rights may be at risk even where charges are not formally filed. Child Protective Services (CPS) investigates all allegations of abuse and neglect. Defense for a child abuse charge can be most difficult, and more so when it involves the testimony of a child.
Law enforcement and the courts in Michigan are very stringent in such cases. An experienced child abuse attorney at your side is, to say the least, imperative. A child abuse allegation is by and large, an extremely emotional and harrowing challenge. With proper legal representation, you can protect your family and your future.
Satawa Law is the legal counsel that you and our family need and deserve.
Our No-Obligation Consultations are compassionate, confidential, and of course, discreet. We represent and advise clients in the Southfield, Oakland County, and Metro Detroit areas… and generally the entire State of Michigan.
Child Abuse & Neglect… What is Included in the Definition?
According to the Michigan Department of Human Services, child abuse and neglect is defined 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.”
How Severe is Child Abuse & Neglect Charges
When determining the level of severity regarding child abuse charges, Child Protective Services (CPS), prosecutors, law enforcement, and the courts consider the scope and extent of a child’s injuries… and of course, the alleged circumstances surrounding the cause of the injuries.
Typically, these cases arise from CPS investigations, and make no mistake, their findings are given substantial consideration.
According to the 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, or severe cut.
- Serious mental harm: Refers to any injury to the child’s mental condition that leads to a temporary or permanent, visibly demonstrable manifestations 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
- First 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 first offense, and 20 years for a second offense.
- Third Degree Child Abuse: This charge can occur when a person intentionally causes harm or commits an act that poses an unreasonable risk of harm (and the child is harmed). The punishment can result in up to 2 years imprisonment.
- Fourth 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 (and the child is unharmed). The punishment can result in up to 1 year of imprisonment.
If you are facing a charge of child abuse, you’ll need a criminal defense attorney specializing in Child Abuse and/or Neglect cases, including FALSE ALLEGATIONS.
Common Child Abuse Defenses Include:
- An injury that was the result of an accident
- An injury that was the result of something other than child abuse
- A parent’s right to discipline
Speak With Us & Request A Confidential Consultation
If you have been arrested or accused of child abuse, our team of lawyers are ready to help defend your rights and protect your future. We understand the life-changing nature of these types of allegations. We never judge or assume; rather, we immediately start to try and determine the best way to win that case. We do that while providing our clients with the empathetic and compassionate guidance they need to get through this difficult time.
We have won the majority of the many cases we have defended at trial, and can use our extensive experience and expertise to help you as well. Do not wait for the police or prosecutors to make the first move. Speak with our Southfield defense team now, and allow us to put our knowledge, skill, and expertise to good use.
The Best Defense Strategy Is An Aggressive Offense
Simply put, we are not afraid to take on prosecutors. We know that a relentless, effective, and well-thought out defense strategy will be critical to the success of a case. Because we always prepare every case extensively from the very beginning of our representation, we can offer persuasive rebuttals to any allegations brought by the Prosecution. We developed a multi-disciplinary approach, using a team of professionals to investigate and prepare our defense – experts, psychologists, lawyers, trial consultants, investigators, and jury consultants to prepare our client and our case for trial. We employ mock trials, practice direct and cross examinations, focus groups, client reenactments, and interview every possible witness to leave no trial stone unturned, and put the case in the best position to be won. When falsely accused of a crime, we demand that our clients to be treated fairly and equally by the justice system. We defend their rights, and protect their future.
How Common Are False Allegations Of Child Sex Abuse?
Most people understand the old legal maxim that sex offenses are the most underreported crime; Department of Justice statistics confirm this. But interestingly, and importantly, sex offenses are also the most overly reported type of crime. DOJ statistics confirm this as well, stating that there are more false allegations of child sexual abuse than any other offense – as many as 4 to 5 times as many. Read more
What Are The Traditional Elements That A Prosecutor Must Prove In A Sex Crime Case?
Criminal sexual conduct in the fourth degree is simply a touching for a sexual purpose or sexual gratification. In the second degree, it is a touching for sexual purpose or sexual gratification with one of the defined aggravating factors. In the third degree, it is penetration with force, coercion or one of the other outlawed elements – such as the child being between 13 and 16 years old, the child being related to the perpetrator, or the child being in the household of the perpetrator. CSC 1st degree is penetration with one of the defined aggravated elements, such as: personal injury, the child being under age 13, multiple offenders, or having been committed during the commission of another felony. Abuse of authority status can be an aggravating factor, which means a parent, teacher, or coach of the individual could face a first-degree charge. Read more
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