Michigan

Child Abuse Defense Attorney

Child abuse accusations can lead to long, painful, and emotionally-charged cases. But often these accusations stem from misunderstandings, exaggerations, or accidents.

As parents ourselves, our team at Smith Blythe understands the emotional toll cases like these can take on your family. And that’s why we’re here to help you through it, with a dedicated and compassionate defense strategy.

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Child abuse accusations can lead to long, painful, and emotionally-charged cases. But often these accusations stem from misunderstandings, exaggerations, or accidents.

As parents ourselves, our team at Smith Blythe understands the emotional toll cases like these can take on your family. And that’s why we’re here to help you through it, with a dedicated and compassionate defense strategy.

Child Abuse in Michigan

In Michigan, child abuse is defined as any type of physical or mental harm to a child as a result of:

  • Reckless actions;
  • Failing to act in a way to protect the child;
  • Committing an act that poses risk of harm to a child;
  • Negligence (i.e. failing to provide adequate food, water, shelter or medical care);
  • Physical abuse;
  • Verbal, psychological, or emotional abuse; or
  • Sexual abuse.

While parents do, of course, have the right to discipline their child(ren), they must do so within the confines of the law. For this reason, corporal punishment, such as spanking, can easily lead to a child abuse charge.

Other examples of child abuse could be any of the following:

  • Leaving a child unattended at home or in a car;
  • Driving with a child while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs;
  • Exposing a child to controlled substances or illegal drugs; or
  • Committing an act of domestic violence in the presence of a child.

In Michigan, the law requires that anyone who comes into contact with the child (teacher, doctor, religious leader, club instructor) and suspects abuse must report it to the proper authorities. Known as mandatory reporters, these accusers can face criminal charges themselves if they fail to report their suspicions.

Classifying child abuse in Michigan

The State of Michigan classifies child abuse into four different degrees, with various punishments:

1

First-degree child abuse.

First-degree charges are the most serious. You are charged with child abuse in the first degree if the state of Michigan believes you have “knowingly and intentionally caused serious physical or serious mental harm to a child.” This is considered a felony and is punishable by up to life in prison.
2

Second-degree child abuse.

Child abuse in the second degree includes one of three elements:
• Child neglect or reckless behavior that results in serious physical or mental harm;
• Knowingly or intentionally committing an act that's likely to to cause serious physical or mental harm, regardless of whether harm actually results; or
• Knowingly or intentionally committing an act that's cruel, regardless of whether harm actually results.
Second-degree charges are felonies punishable by up to ten years in prison for the first offense.
3

Third-degree child abuse.

Child abuse in the third degree is when someone knowingly or intentionally causes physical harm or poses a risk of harm that leads to physical harm. It is a felony punishable by not more than two years in prison.
4

Fourth-degree child abuse.

Child abuse in the fourth degree is either child neglect or reckless behavior that causes physical harm posing a risk of harm, regardless of whether physical harm results. Fourth-degree charges are high-court misdemeanors punishable by up to a year in jail.

What to do if you’re accused of child abuse

Child abuse allegations often stem from misinterpreted or misrepresented medical evidence. Sometimes, a mandatory reporter misunderstands a situation and reports without giving the parents an opportunity to explain. And sometimes an injury is simply the result of an accident, as opposed to physical abuse.

There are several things that can happen if you or your spouse has been accused of child abuse.

  • At some point, there may be a petition filed to terminate your parental rights or criminal charges may be filed.
  • As a result of a CPS investigation, your name might be added to Michigan’s Central Registry of Abuse and Neglect.

That’s why you need to hire a defense attorney immediately if you are accused of child abuse.

"
When my daughter sustained an injury from an accident, we took her to the emergency room. My husband and I found ourselves in the middle of a parent's worst nightmare. We were wrongfully accused and investigated for child abuse regardless of another child explaining the injury. Unlike the criminal justice system, parents essentially have no rights. Good parents are treated guilty until proven innocent and their children are traumatized and torn from their homes. They threatened to take our children from us and planned to take us to court. We immediately looked for an attorney and did some research. We found Shannon Smith. She is amazing!!! Shannon is totally devoted to her clients. She is very approachable and energetic. She is strategic, knowledgeable about the system, and the perfect balance. We followed her advice exactly and everything worked out to our benefit. During the most devastational event of my life, I felt confident with Shannon on my team.”
~ Prior Client

"

When my daughter sustained an injury from an accident, we took her to the emergency room. My husband and I found ourselves in the middle of a parent's worst nightmare. We were wrongfully accused and investigated for child abuse regardless of another child explaining the injury. Unlike the criminal justice system, parents essentially have no rights. Good parents are treated guilty until proven innocent and their children are traumatized and torn from their homes. They threatened to take our children from us and planned to take us to court. We immediately looked for an attorney and did some research. We found Shannon Smith. She is amazing!!! Shannon is totally devoted to her clients. She is very approachable and energetic. She is strategic, knowledgeable about the system, and the perfect balance. We followed her advice exactly and everything worked out to our benefit. During the most devastational event of my life, I felt confident with Shannon on my team.”

~ Prior Client

Call Smith Blythe if you’re facing these types of allegations

Being accused of child abuse or neglect is as terrifying as it is heart-breaking. But there is hope. At Smith Blythe, we have over twenty five years of combined 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 child abuse accusation. Give us a call today at 248-636-2595.

Fill out the form with the details of your situation to get started.

Are you a new client? Yes, I am a potential new client.No, I am a current existing client.I'm neither

Call Smith Blythe if you’re facing these types of allegations

Being accused of child abuse or neglect is as terrifying as it is heart-breaking. But there is hope. At Smith Blythe, we have over twenty five years of combined 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 child abuse accusation. Give us a call today at 248-636-2595.

Fill out the form with the details of your situation to get started.

Are you a new client? Yes, I am a potential new client.No, I am a current existing client.I'm neither