Experienced Michigan Child Abuse Defense Attorneys

Child Abuse and Neglect are Serious Charges Needing a Serious Defense. Our Defense Team Can Help You.

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorneys - Group

Child abuse allegations are serious, and the situation is usually more complicated than the government recognizes.

If you are charged with or accused of child abuse or neglect, you need Michigan’s most aggressive, effective child abuse defense attorneys. These allegations are often taken out of context or blown into disproportionate accusations, potentially resulting in life-altering consequences.

Because law enforcement and prosecutors are often overzealous in prosecuting child abuse cases, building a defense or mitigating the outcome can be too much for a single lawyer to handle. Our team of criminal defense attorneys work together to formulate a plan to help our clients get the best outcome possible when accused of the abuse or neglect of a child. We understand the emotional toll these allegations can take and give the support needed to help our clients through the painful and challenging process of being charged or accused of conduct classified as a felony or misdemeanor. Child abuse could include intentional physical or mental injury, maltreatment, sexual abuse or exploitation, and even placing a child at risk for serious bodily injury even if no harm was caused.

False or Exaggerated Allegations of Neglect or Child Abuse

Child abuse allegations are often the result of a misunderstanding, an accident, or in some cases, false allegations of a scheming ex-spouse, vengeful teacher, or misguided CPS agent or police officer. Our job is to protect you and make sure the actual facts come to light. With decades of experience in handling neglect and abuse cases, the team of attorneys with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has the power to defend you and your children from the tragic impact of a false or exaggerated allegation.

Damage Control – A Reduced Sentence

There are cases where a parent or caregiver momentarily loses control and inappropriately hurts a child. These cases range from minor emotional or physical abuse to serious life-threatening or fatal injuries. The importance of having a seriously experienced criminal defense attorney cannot be understated. Very persuasive child abuse defense attorneys can often find ways to resolve these cases in ways that:

  • limit potential jail or prison time through plea bargains and sentence agreements,
  • reduce the chances of child custody problems,
  • shorten the term of probation that the judge might impose, and
  • control the terms and conditions of probation.

Courts that place these defendants on probation frequently order terms and conditions that can be so demanding and exhaustive that even the most responsible people struggle to comply.

Child Protective Services

In conjunction with criminal charges and often without any criminal indictment, CPS frequently takes radical and sweeping measures to interfere in a parent’s parental rights when there is a neglect or abuse allegation. Unfortunately, these workers often assume false or exaggerated claims are truthful without a thoughtful review or a critical analysis of what may be motivating a false accusation. Worse yet, CPS workers are frequently overworked, resulting in an incomplete investigation and substantiating a false allegation. Our team will work with you to ensure the record is straight and stand in the way of an “investigation” that is little more than a witch hunt. These investigations can result in the loss of parental rights, limitation or elimination of visitation, and much more.

First Degree Child Abuse – Felony – Maximum Life Sentence

First-degree child abuse is the most serious of Michigan’s child abuse offenses. These charges are filed when a parent is alleged to have intentionally inflicted serious physical or mental harm on a child.

Second Degree Child Abuse – Felony – 10-Year Maximum Sentence

Second Degree Child Abuse occurs when a person’s omission or failure to act causes serious physical or mental harm to a child, or the person’s reckless act causes serious physical or serious mental harm to a child.

Third Degree Child Abuse – Felony – Two-Year Maximum Sentence

Third Degree Child Abuse occurs when a person is accused of knowingly or intentionally causing physical harm to a child.

Fourth Degree Child Abuse – Misdemeanor – One Year in Jail Maximum

Fourth Degree Child Abuse results when a person is charged with knowingly or intentionally committing an act that poses an unreasonable risk of harm or injury to a child, regardless of whether physical harm results.

  • Parental Kidnapping
  • Criminal Sexual Conduct
  • Domestic Violence / Domestic Assault and Battery

Defenses to Child Abuse

Michigan_Criminal_Defense Attorney

The defenses to allegations of any form of child abuse are complex. Even experienced criminal defense lawyers are often afraid to defend these cases adequately or are not aware of the defenses that may be available. There are cases where the allegations are false or exaggerated, and the defense strategy might be to prove that the actual facts do not equate to abuse or at least not to the degree of abuse alleged. Experienced child abuse defense attorneys will know how to use the facts of the case, a complete investigation, the testimony of experts, the science of medicine, and cross-examination expertise to fight for their client’s freedom and rights to their children.

Because the Michigan legislature provided that the defendant must “knowingly or intentionally” cause serious physical harm for First-Degree Child Abuse, the government must prove that the accused intended to cause serious physical harm or knew that their action would result in serious physical harm. When the government alleges that a failure to act caused serious injury, the charge is Second Degree Child Abuse; however, failure to get medical care is insufficient to prove this charge. The government must prove the accused willfully failed to provide food, clothing, or shelter or willful child abandonment. Fourth-degree child abuse requires an act (not omission) that creates an unreasonable risk of harm or injury to a child. The government need not prove that the accused acted knowingly or intentionally. The accused is not guilty if it was not foreseeable that the act would result in harm or injury.

Parental Discipline vs. Child Abuse

A parent in Michigan has the right to discipline their child physically. This right is controversial, and many prosecutors, police officers, and CPS agents ignore the law and prosecute cases that should not properly be in court. The standard in Michigan is that any corporal punishment must not be excessive. In court, excessive is often judged by whether the physical discipline resulted in visual markings.

Many people accused of child abuse or neglect make the drastic mistake of waiting to seek counsel. Police and CPS workers are experts at manipulating suspects into making statements that can be misconstrued as evidence of guilt. Law enforcement will almost always advise an accused individual not to seek counsel because they know their best chance of gaining evidence is without an experienced criminal defense lawyer’s involvement. The fact is that these allegations almost always result in CPS investigations or criminal charges, and it takes the involvement of great defense attorneys to limit or prevent the charges from being issued by the prosecutor when possible. When charges are issued, or unwitting, naïve suspect is coerced or manipulated into incriminating themselves, they lose an opportunity to limit the damages by failing to obtain legal representation quickly.

We are frequently asked whether the involvement of a criminal defense lawyer looks “bad” or makes someone look guilty. The simple answer is “no.” Hiring a lawyer makes someone look responsible and aware of the severity of the allegation. Furthermore, prosecutors do not make charging decisions based on “how they look.” Prosecutors decide based on the evidence and what they believe they can prove in court. A defense attorney can help provide exculpatory evidence, discredit alleged inculpatory evidence, and ensure the prosecutor knows that an easy conviction will not result from a questionable charge.

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney

Michigan Child Abuse Defense Lawyer

Although the potential consequences of a conviction for child abuse can be life-altering in a devastating way, there is hope. The attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have successfully and effectively defended these cases for decades. We will take the time to understand your concerns fully, investigate the case, and formulate a plan to achieve the best possible outcome. If there is a way to help you, we will find it!

Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete an online Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.

We will find a way to help you and, most importantly,
we are not afraid to win!

Contact Us - Michigan Criminal Defense Attorneys