Child Abuse in the Fourth Degree

In Michigan there are 4 specific criminal allegations that constitute Child Abuse:

Child Abuse in the First Degree - MCL 750.136b(2) - occurs when an individual knowingly or intentionally causes serious physical or serious mental harm to a child. Child Abuse in the First Degree is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Serious physical harm means 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. Serious mental harm means 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.

 
 

Child Abuse in the Second Degree - MCL 750.136b(4) - occurs if: the person’s 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; or the person knowingly or intentionally commits an act that is cruel to a child regardless of whether harm results. Child abuse in the Second Degree is a felony punishable by up to 4 years in prison. An omission is the willful failure to provide food, clothing, or shelter necessary for a child’s welfare or the willful abandonment of a child. Serious physical harm means 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. Serious mental harm means 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.


 

Child Abuse in the Third Degree - MCL 750.136b(5) - occurs if either a person knowingly or intentionally causes physical harm to a child OR the person knowingly or intentionally commits an act that under the circumstances poses an unreasonable risk of harm or injury to a child, and the act results in physical harm to a child. This offense is a felony, punishable by up to 2 years in prison. Physical harm means any injury to a child’s physical condition.


 

Child Abuse in the Fourth Degree - MCL 750.136b(7) - occurs when either the person’s omission or reckless act causes physical harm to a child OR the person knowingly or intentionally commits an act that under the circumstances poses an unreasonable risk of harm or injury to a child, regardless of whether physical harm results. This offense is a misdemeanor, with possible incarceration of up to 1 year in jail. An omission is the willful failure to provide food, clothing, or shelter necessary for a child’s welfare or the willful abandonment of a child. Physical harm means any injury to a child’s physical condition.


 

A Child is defined as a person under the age of 18 years. Defenses to the above referenced offenses include reasonable parental discipline, including the reasonable use of force. It is also an affirmative defense that the Defendant’s conduct involving the child was a reasonable response to an act of domestic violence in light of all the facts and circumstances known to the Defendant at that time. The Defendant has the burden of establishing the affirmative defense by a preponderance of the evidence.

 

These types of cases also sometimes go hand in hand with investigations by Child Protective Services (CPS), which sometimes in conjunction with the Prosecutor’s office or Attorney General’s office, file petitions which impede or terminate a person’s parental rights to their child or children. It is recommended to have the same attorney address both the criminal allegation and the parental rights case.

 

It is sometimes important to hire expert witnesses when defending these types of cases to refute the conclusions reached by the government. In some instances an innocent injury is misdiagnosed or misinterpreted by a Prosecutor, leading to unjustified criminal and/or parental rights cases.


Sometimes in life you only have one opportunity to obtain the right result.
 
 
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Other offenses by adults potentially involving children include:

Abortion Resulting in Death – MCL 750.323

Accosting, Enticing, or Soliciting a Minor for Immoral Purposes or Encouraging a Minor to Commit an Immoral Act - MCL 750.145a

Adoption – Persons Not Authorized Placing Child – MCL 710.55

Assault with Intent to Commit Criminal Sexual Conduct – MCL 750.520g

Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor – MCL 750.145

Criminal Sexual Conduct, 1st Degree – MCL 750.520b

Criminal Sexual Conduct, 2nd Degree – MCL 750.520c

Criminal Sexual Conduct, 3rd Degree – MCL 750.520d

Criminal Sexual Conduct, 4th Degree – MCL 750.520e

Child Sexually Abusive Activity - MCL 750.145c

Desertion/Abandonment/Nonsupport – MCL 750.161

Dissemination of Sexually Explicit Matter to a Minor – MCL 722.675

Employing Female under 17 in House of Prostitution – MCL 750.462

Escape from a Juvenile Facility – MCL 750.186a(1)

Exposing Child with Intent to Injure or Abandon – MCL 750.135

Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor – MCL 436.1801, MCL 436.1701

Gang Recruitment – 750.411v(1)

Human Trafficking – MCL 750.462

Indecent Exposure – MCL 750.335a

Internet and Computer Solicitation – MCL 750.145(d)(1)(a)

Kidnapping – MCL 750.349

Kidnapping Child under 14 years – MCL 750.350

Kidnapping, Custodial Interference – MCL 750.350a

Leaving Child Unattended in Vehicle – MCL 750.135a

OUIL with Occupant under 16 years old – MCL 257.625

Recruiting or Inducing a Minor to Commit a Felony – MCL 750.157c

Sale of Explosives to Minor – MCL 750.327a

School Bus, Intentional Damage – MCL 750.377c

Soliciting Child to Commit Immoral Act – MCL 750.145a

Stalking of a Minor – MCL 750.411(h)(2)(b)

Surrogate Parenting Contracts – MCL 722.857 and MCL 722.859

 

Daniel Hilf, Esq. of the law firm of Hilf & Hilf, PLC, is a criminal defense lawyer who is driven by a commitment to winning. His legal career is distinguished by an ability to think on his feet, to analyze issues in both conventional and unconventional ways, and to react effectively against the challenges presented by Prosecutors and Courts.

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