Child Abuse

Expert HOWELL Child Abuse Attorney

Child Abuse & Neglect

When a child is cared for by a parent or legal caregiver it is assumed that the child will get enough food, shelter, mental and medical attention one would need to be well cared for in a home. The truth is that not all care is equal in the eyes of the law. A child, a person under the age of 18 years and not legally emancipated, must be well cared for by an adult charged with his/her care regardless of the child’s time spent with the parent, legal guardian or any authority-figure charged with the child’s care. An authority figure can include a teacher, coach, or religious official. The legal problems start when a child exhibits any physical or mental harm caused by an adult. 750.136b

Child Abuse

Physical harm to a child can include any non-accidental injury that impairs the child’s health or physical well being. If it escalates, then it can include serious physical harm. According to the law, this can include (but not limited to) such injuries as a skull fracture, bone fracture, brain damage, subdural hemorrhage or hematoma, dislocation, sprain, internal injury, poisoning, burn or scald, or severe cut according to the law.

Child abuse can also include serious mental harm to a child by a parent, legal guardian, or caregiver. This could mean that the mental state of the child is not necessarily permanent, but could impair the thought or mood of the child and could impair his/her judgment, behavior, ability to recognize reality or even cope with day-to-day life and its demands.  

Depending on the degree of child abuse one is charged with the punishments can vary. The four degrees of child abuse (according to 750.136b) are listed below:

First Degree Child Abuse: According to the law, a person can be charged with First Degree Child Abuse if he/she knowingly or intentionally causes serious physical or serious mental harm to a child.

This type of abuse is punishable by life in prison or any term of years deemed appropriate by the judge.

Second Degree Child Abuse: According to the law, a person can be charged with this type of abuse if

  • The person’s lack of action (omission) causes serious physical harm or serious mental harm to a child or if the person’s reckless act causes serious physical harm or serious mental harm to a child.
  • The person knowingly or intentionally commits an act likely to cause serious physical or mental harm to a child regardless of whether harm results.
  • The person knowingly or intentionally commits an act that is cruel to a child regardless of whether harm results.

Second Degree Child abuse is considered a felony. A person, if convicted, could receive up to ten years in prison for a first offense, and up to 20 years for a second offense.

Third Degree Child Abuse: According to the law, a person can be charged with Third Degree Child Abuse if the person knowingly or intentionally causes physical harm to a child or knowingly or intentionally commits an act that poses an unreasonable risk of harm or injury to a child and the act results in physical harm.

This type of child abuse is punishable of up to two years in prison.

 Fourth Degree Child Abuse: According to the law, this type of child abuse is a misdemeanor.  A person can be charge with Fourth Degree Child Abuse for neglecting to provide for the child’s basic needs, abandonment, and reckless acts which causes harm to the child.  

In Howell, child abuse of this nature is punishable of up to one year in prison.

Child Neglect

Child Neglect includes willful failure to provide the necessities for a child such as shelter, food, or clothing. It also includes the abandonment or leaving a child without the care of a responsible adult. 

In Michigan, Child Neglect can also be charged if you put your child in a situation that’s harmful, or not intervening when your child is at risk or is being harmed by another.

Child Protective Services CPS 

This department’s role is to conduct an investigation and, based on that investigation, charge a person of child abuse.

Child Protective Services program in Michigan investigates any reports of child abuse and or neglect. CPS can be notified by a teacher, doctor, or any person that suspects child abuse or neglect. Within 24 hours, CPS must open an investigation or denied it if it is deemed unreasonable. In some situations, CPS can remove a child from the home, but only if a judge gives them permission. CPS can also contact the police if they deem the situation as very serious, such as sexual or physical abuse. The police can remove a child without permission and a hospital can refuse to let a child go home with the parents if doctors suspect child abuse or neglect. 

In many instances, a child will be temporarily placed into a relative’s or foster home.

CPS has 30 days to conduct an investigation. During that time, their social workers will contact any adult that has contact with the child. CPS does not need your permission for them to contact these people. The interviews can include teachers, caregivers, babysitters, doctors, or neighbors. They will conduct interviews with you, your child, and your other children (if any). CPS Social workers can also contact your child at their school or daycare without your knowledge.

When CPS is involved, and your child has been removed from the home, you have a right to a court hearing within 72 hours. You also have the right to have an attorney present at any time. It is our suggestion to obtain a lawyer as soon as CPS is involved in an investigation.

It is important that you hire an attorney for court. Your child will be appointed an attorney in court, as well.

In these types of cases, it is critical that you have an experienced attorney in this area of the law. There are very few attorneys who are experienced in this type of law. Your children can be removed from your home, and the government may actually try to take your children away from you forever. Do not try to navigate this alone. Bill McCririe is very experienced in this specific area. He has successfully defended parents and helped them get their children back, or made sure they were not taken in the first place. Contact a Howell child abuse and neglect defense attorney you can trust – call McCririe Law as soon as you know CPS is involved! Do not wait!