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Michigan Child Abuse Attorney

Helping Clients Understand The Child Abuse Laws in Michigan

Child abuse laws in the state of Michigan are defined by degrees, with the first-degree child abuse being the most serious charge which can result in life in prison.

If a defendant is facing the charge of first-degree child abuse in Michigan, it is the burden of the prosecutor to prove each of the following conditions without a reasonable doubt:

To begin, the prosecutor must prove the defendant is the parent or guardian of the child that has been allegedly abused; or, the defendant was in custody of the child at the time the abuse occurred, regardless of the duration of time the child was cared for by, in custody of, or under the authority of that person.

Next, is the prosecutor’s duty to prove that the defendant knowingly or intentionally harmed the child in a physical and serious manner.

Serious physical Harm means any physical injury to a child that seriously impairs the child’s health or physical well-being.

This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Brain damage
  • Skull or bone fracture
  • Subdural hemorrhage or hematoma
  • Dislocation
  • Sprain
  • Internal injury
  • Poisoning
  • Burn or scald
  • Severe cut

    Serious mental harm means an injury to a child’s mental condition to the point that a visible sign of impairment in the child’s judgment or behavior is revealed.

    Lastly, the prosecutor must prove that the child was under the age of 18 when the abuse occurred.

    Are you facing child abuse charges? Call Prain Law, PLLC today at (248) 731-4543 or contact us online to schedule a meeting with our child abuse lawyer in Michigan!

    First-Degree Child Abuse

    First Degree Child Abuse charges are among the most severe criminal charges a person can face. A person convicted of First Degree Child Abuse in Michigan may likely go to State Prison. The maximum time is "LIFE or any term of years." A conviction for First Degree Child Abuse also means being placed on the Michigan Child Abuse and Neglect Central Registry as a "perpetrator."

    If a defendant is facing the charge of first-degree child abuse in Michigan, it is the burden of the prosecutor to prove each of the following conditions without a reasonable doubt:

    To begin, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant is the parent or guardian of the child that has been allegedly abused; or that the defendant was in custody of the child at the time the abuse occurred, regardless of the duration of time the child was cared for by, in custody of, or under the authority of that person. Next is the prosecutor's duty to prove that the defendant knowingly or intentionally harmed the child in a physical and serious manner.

    Serious physical home means any physical injury to a child that seriously impairs the child’s health or physical well-being. This includes, but its not limited to:

    • Brain damage
    • Skull or bone fracture
    • Subdural hemorrhage or hematoma
    • Dislocation
    • Sprain
    • Internal injury
    • Poisoning
    • Burn or scald
    • or a severe cut

      Serious mental harm means an injury to a child’s mental condition to the point that a visible sign of impairment in the child’s judgment or behavior is revealed.

      Lastly, the prosecutor must prove that the child was under 18 when the abuse occurred.

      Second-Degree Child Abuse

      Second Degree Child Abuse charges are severe criminal charges and should not be taken lightly. If you are convicted of Second Degree Child Abuse, you will almost certainly receive a Jail sentence and may likely go to State Prison. The maximum Prison sentence for 2nd Degree Child Abuse is ten years for a first offender and 20 years for a repeat offender. Second Degree Child Abuse also means you'll be listed on the Michigan Child Abuse and Neglect Central Registry and identified as "perpetrator" or "perp."

      Third-Degree Child Abuse

      Third Degree Child Abuse charges are severe criminal charges and should not be taken lightly. If you are convicted of Third Degree Child Abuse, you will almost certainly receive a Jail sentence and may likely go to State Prison. The maximum Prison sentence for 3rd Degree Child Abuse is not more than two years. You will also be listed in the Michigan Child Abuse and Neglect Central Registry, where you will be marked as a "perpetrator."

      Fourth-Degree Child Abuse

      Fourth Degree Child Abuse is a misdemeanor charge but should not be taken lightly. If you are convicted of Fourth Degree Child Abuse, the maximum Prison sentence for Fourth Degree Child Abuse is a misdemeanor punishable by not more than one year. This also includes being listed in the Michigan Child Abuse and Neglect Central Registry and identified as "perpetrator" or "perp."

      What Must Be Proven for You to Be Convicted of Child Abuse in Michigan?

      This is because more than reading the statute alone is needed to give the complete picture of the law as it would be read to a Jury deciding your case if you went to Trial. We must look at Third Degree Child Abuse Jury Instruction to get the whole picture. Here are the theories of Third Degree of Child Abuse:

      The defendant either knowingly or intentionally caused harm to the child.

      The defendant either knowingly or intentionally committed an act that, under the circumstances, posed an unreasonable risk of harm or injury to the child, and the act resulted in physical damage.

      Does the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act (HYTA) Apply to Child Abuse?

      No, those convicted of Child Abuse, First Degree are not eligible for HYTA.

      The Michigan Holmes Youthful Trainee Act, MCL 762.11, typically allows a person accused of a crime between 17 and 21 (such as a young babysitter) to plead guilty without being "convicted" at the time of the offense and having a record. But because the maximum penalty for First Degree Child Abuse is LIFE, Child Abuse, First Degree charges are not HYTA eligible. A Michigan Child Abuse Defense Attorney must aggressively defend these charges. Discuss other degrees of child abuse charges with a Detroit child abuse attorney!

      Defense of Reasonable Response to an Act of Domestic Violence to Child Abuse Charges

      Yet another defense can be raised to these charges (in addition to Self-Defense, which is a complete defense to all crimes). However, unlike the defense of "Parental Discipline," the burden is on the defendant to prove this defense by a preponderance of the evidence. This means the evidence must persuade the Jury that it is more likely than not that the conduct was a reasonable response to an act of domestic violence, given all of the facts and circumstances are known to the accused at the time. If the accused proves this by a preponderance of the evidence, they are entitled to a verdict of NOT GUILTY of Child Abuse.

      Contact Our Michigan Child Abuse Lawyer Today

      Prain Law, PLLC, is led by a skilled and experienced Michigan child abuse lawyer committed to fighting for your rights following an allegation of child abuse. No matter the nature of your particular case, we are enthusiastic about delivering you the legal counsel, care, and representation you deserve most at this time.

      DO NOT TALK TO THE POLICE! Speak only with a Michigan Child Abuse Defense Attorney - and do it immediately. Nothing can hurt your case more than your own words. Even if you are denying the First Degree Child Abuse charges, the police will twist your words and find some way to use what you said to convict you.

      Contact Prain Law, PLLC, today to schedule a FREE consultation with our child abuse attorney in Michigan!

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