Michigan law has several degrees of child neglect and child abuse which carry significant criminal penalties and in addition to these penalties a parent who has been arrested for child neglect or abuse also risks termination of his or her parental rights. The major issue with these type of charges is that as little as a casual comment made by your child, a student, or a neighbor’s child, or even as the result of a difficult divorce can result in a CPS investigation and serious charges and consequences.
Even assuming that you and your attorney mount a successful defense against the charges of child neglect and abuse and you are acquitted, CPS can still investigate you and attempt to terminate your parental rights, making you miserable along the way at a bare minimum. Because the standard of proof in a CPS case is different from a criminal case, the state may still be in a powerful position to remove your children. Many attorneys handling these cases are simply court-appointed lawyers who are afraid to go up against CPS and don’t have the excellent track record with child neglect and abuse cases that the attorneys of Satawa Law, PLLC have. Don’t be blindsided by charges of child abuse–hire the very best, most experienced attorney who has had extensive dealings both with CPS and with this specific type of case.
The most serious offense in this realm is first degree child abuse and requires that the parent or guardian knowingly or intentionally causes serious physical or mental harm to a child. Serious physical harm encompasses physical injury to the child such as brain damage, bone fracture, dislocation, sprain, internal injuries, poisoning, burns, scalds or cuts. Serious mental harm occurs when there are visible signs of impairment to the child’s ability to cope with everyday life demands. Unfortunately, an unexplained injury can result in a completely innocent parent be charged with this crime. Because the prosecutor will zero in on the parent as the abuser–because they are the easiest target–it is essential that you have competent representation to protect your rights and your future.
Second degree child abuse occurs when a parent or guardian willfully fails to provide the necessary items in life such as food, clothing or shelter, causing harm in the process, commits a reckless act which results in physical harm, or commits an act which could cause mental or physical harm. Third degree child abuse is a knowing or intentional act against a minor which causes physical harm, however unlike first degree child abuse, the harm is not required to be serious. Although fourth degree child abuse or neglect is still considered a very serious charge, it is the least severe and requires that the prosecution show the parent or guardian committed a reckless act which resulted in physical harm to the child.
Michigan law permits a parent to use only the amount of force which could be considered reasonable—obviously a very subjective measure. If the state has charged you with using excessive force on your child, then the prosecution must prove that the force you used was not reasonable as a method of discipline. If you have been charged with using excessive force to discipline your child, take the charges seriously and hire effective counsel immediately.
No matter what level of child abuse or neglect you have been charged with, you need an attorney who is well-versed in the laws specific to Michigan and who will fight for your rights and your innocence. The attorneys ofSatawa Law, PLLC have extensive experience in dealing with child abuse and neglect charges and can also deal effectively with CPS. Don’t take chances with your life and your future—call Satawa Law, PLLC immediately.