Michigan Child Abuse Allegations
Legal Defense from a Michigan Criminal Sexual Conduct Attorneys
In Michigan, child abuse is defined as any type of physical or mental harm to a child, reckless actions, failing to act thereby causing harm to a child, or committing an act that poses an unreasonable risk of harm or injury to a child. These charges are taken very seriously and many are categorized as a felony.
Numerous implications may result from an allegation of child abuse, including a Child Protective Services (CPS) investigation, a filing of a petition to terminate parental rights, registration on Michigan's Central Registry of Abuse and Neglect, and more.
The State of Michigan classifies child abuse into four different degrees:
- First-degree child abuse: It is considered a felony and is the most serious charge. It is punishable by up to life in prison.
- Second-degree child abuse: It is a felony punishable by up to ten years in prison for the first offense.
- Third-degree child abuse: It is a felony punishable by not more than two years in prison.
- Fourth-degree child abuse: It is a high-court misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail.
Don't face your charges alone. Discuss your case by contacting us to speak to our Michigan sex crimes attorneys.
Michigan First Degree Child Abuse
In Michigan, child abuse is classified into four different degrees, in accordance with MCL 750.136b. First degree child abuse is the most serious of the four different degrees.
Michigan law states that, "a person is guilty of child abuse in the first-degree if the person knowingly or intentionally causes serious physical or serious mental harm to a child." MCL 750.136b(2). First degree child abuse is a serious felony, punishable by imprisonment for life or any term of years.
Serious physical harm is defined in the statute as, "any physical injury to a child that seriously impairs the child’s health or physical well-being, 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." MCL 750.136b(1)(f). Serious mental harm is also defined in the statute as, "an injury to a child’s mental condition or welfare that is not necessarily permanent but results in 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." MCL 750.136b(1)(g)
First degree child abuse is a specific intent crime in Michigan. People v Maynor, 470 Mich 289; 683 NW2d 565 (2004). This means that the prosecution must show beyond a reasonable doubt that an individual intended to seriously harm the child or knew that serious physical harm would be caused. Id. at 297.
Allegations of child abuse should be taken very seriously, particularly, any allegations of first degree child abuse. Additionally, most allegations of child abuse will trigger an investigation by Child Protective Services (CPS), and possibly a petition to terminate parental rights.
If you are facing first degree child abuse charges, it is important to hire an attorney experienced in handling serious child abuse allegations. Often times, serious child abuse allegations require carefully reviewing complicated medical records, thorough investigation, and the use of experts. It is critical to hire a lawyer with expertise in criminal cases and the CPS aspect of the case. Smith Blythe, PC is a law firm experienced in handling child abuse allegations. We can handle both the criminal side of your case and the juvenile side of your case if a petition to terminate parental rights is filed. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.
Doing Everything in Our Power to Effectively Defend Clients
Due to the stigma that such allegations carry, defending a claim can be extremely difficult; however, it is critical that you find an experienced Michigan criminal sexual conduct lawyer right away. We can take on your case, protect your rights as a person innocent until proven guilty, and work towards the outcome you need.
At Smith Blythe, PC, we have over ten years of experience fighting for the rights and best interests of our clients. From carefully reviewing police and child protective services reports, to consulting with doctors and other experts, we will do everything in our power to defend you against any manner of child abuse accusation.
Facing charges for child abuse? Call us at (248) 213-9331 and schedule a free consultation!