Facing Charges for False Report of Child Abuse in Michigan
Child abuse claims are taken very seriously in Michigan. If someone accuses you of a false report of child abuse or neglect, you’ll need to secure the services of an experienced defense attorney as soon as possible.
Michigan Law and Penalties for False Report of Child Abuse
Michigan law further provides that any person who intentionally makes a false report of child abuse or neglect, knowing that the report is untrue, is guilty of a crime as follows:
If the child abuse or neglect reported would constitute a misdemeanor or something less severe, the person is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 93 days, a fine of not more than $10,000, or both.
If the child abuse or neglect reported would constitute a felony, the person is guilty of a felony punishable imprisonment for not more than four (4) years and a fine of $2,000, or the maximum penalty for crime falsely reported, if less than four (4) years.
False Report of Child Abuse – What Happens if you Provide False Report?
When someone reports suspected child abuse to CPS, an officer will start investigating and may visit the accused’s home. The investigation process can traumatize the family, especially the child or children involved. The investigation may include interviewing the child, parents, siblings, teachers, family doctor, and anyone who may have relevant information about the case. A medical doctor may examine the child to evaluate injuries and ensure the parents treat them accurately. If the accused lives in the home, they may be asked to stay out of the house during the investigation.
After the investigation is complete, CPS will determine if the child is being either neglected or abused or not. If CPS suspects someone lied in an abuse or neglect report, they will need the help of a skilled attorney to prove they were acting with the child’s best interest in mind.
Mandatory Reporters and Inaccurate Reports of Child Abuse
What if a mandatory reporter makes an inaccurate report of abuse? The government does not want to prevent or inhibit mandatory reporters from reporting suspicion of abuse for fear of being punished for erroneous claims. There is immunity for anyone that reports child abuse in “good faith.” Making a report in “good faith” is an absolute defense if you have reason to believe that someone abused or neglected a child and call it into CPS. The reporter cannot assert the immunity defense if a report is made in “bad faith” or made untruthfully.
Jail is Not Mandatory, and Severe Consequences are Avoidable
Under extreme circumstances, it is understandable that a desperate person might make a mistake. Say, for example, a person believes their child is at risk while visiting with an ex-spouse, grandparent, or co-parent. Fear and anxiety might prompt a false allegation of abuse in a misguided effort to protect the child. If you face allegations under similar circumstances, you might be afraid that a conviction could result in reduced custody, visitation, or incarceration. Rest assured that all is not lost, and the Defense Team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. can help you avoid the possible, severe direct and indirect consequences of a conviction.
Do I Need an Attorney to Defend False Reporting Charges?
Since there is so much at stake in cases involving children under 18, there are severe punishments for those who give a false report of abuse or neglect. If someone accuses you of filing a false report, they will need a defense attorney to help prove they called or reported the abuse or neglect in good faith. If you’re a mandated reporter, your attorney will also work to uphold your legal right to confidentiality and protection.
The defense attorneys with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. are aggressive, resourceful, creative, and passionate about our clients and their cases. We will turn over every rock and explore every loophole to find a way to get an advantage for your case.
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete a Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.