Michigan Child Abuse Lawyer
Michigan law provides, pursuant to MCL 750.136b, that a person is guilty of child abuse in the fourth degree if any of the following are true:
(a) The person’s omission or reckless act causes physical harm to a child.
(b) 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.
Fourth degree child abuse is a misdemeanor that is punishable by up to a year in jail.
Fourth Degree Child Abuse Defenses
The child abuse statute specifically provides that parental discipline is a valid defense to a charge of child abuse. This means that a parent or guardian, or someone authorized by the child’s parent or guardian, can take reasonable steps to discipline a child, including the use of reasonable force.
One allegation that can sometime result in a charge of child abuse in the fourth degree is spanking. Child protective services in Michigan tends highly disfavor the use of any physical force in disciplining children, and if a punishment like spanking results in any sort of bruising or redness to the child, a parent can find themselves facing allegations of child abuse. Spanking, however, is still used in a large number of households as a successful discipline tool, and many parents subscribe to the philosophy that some physical discipline is necessary in raising their children to be productive adults.
Child abuse charges can be brought against both parents and non-parents. However, it is important to note that the parental discipline defense is available to both parents and those who have been authorized by the child’s parents to discipline the child. That means that grandparents, aunts and uncles, babysitters, teachers, and others have the parental discipline defense available to them in some circumstances. In defending against a child abuse case, establishing that the defendant had authority to discipline the child early on can be critical to winning the case.
Hire An Experienced Michigan Child Abuse Lawyer
If you have been charged with Fourth Degree Child Abuse, it is important that you hire the right Michigan child abuse lawyer to defend you. It is important that you have an attorney on your side who can tell your story to a jury successfully. In a fourth degree child abuse case, it will be critical to convince the jury that your actions were reasonable.
Most importantly, you will need a lawyer who you feel comfortable with handling your case. That means having someone with experience, and also someone who is willing to listen and to fight for you.
If you have been accused of child abuse, contact a Michigan child abuse lawyer at 616-773-2945 for a consultation.