Impossibility as a Defense to a Child Support Felony
Sometimes it is simply impossible to pay the total amount of child support. Lost jobs, layoffs, health issues, and unexpected expenses can put a person in financial hardship.
You are not guilty of a child support felony if it was impossible to pay the total amount.
In a recent decision by the Michigan Supreme Court, one of the most unjust, barbaric laws in Michigan history finally has an injection of common sense and due process. Until today, there was no defense to a Child Support Felony charge. In other words, if an individual responsible for paying child support or spousal support failed to make a payment or failed to make a payment on a timely basis, they were subject to an indefensible prosecution as a felon. We are not talking about “deadbeat dads” here. Many people, primarily dads, cannot pay the court-ordered support amount. Again, we are not talking about those who fail to make a good faith effort to pay support, not those who honestly cannot pay the amount ordered and get prosecuted. The result is often a felony conviction and an even lower earning potential.
Today, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled 4-3 that for the first time, people charged with criminally failing to pay child support can defend themselves by showing it was “impossible” for them to come up with the money. The case is People v. Likine.
A felony charge is unjust under these circumstances.
Prosecutors will continue to relentlessly prosecute these cases, even if the defendant was suffering from extreme hardship. Judges will continue to unforgivingly punish those who could pay and failed or refused to do so. The benefit is that those individuals who wanted to pay and made good faith efforts to pay, but couldn’t because it was impossible, would not be criminalized. Defendants are still statutorily precluded from using “inability to pay” as a defense (MCL 750.165).
Retained Attorneys Defending Against Child Support Felony Charges
Few lawyers in Michigan routinely achieve positive results defending clients on child support felony charges. The Defense Team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has decades of experience providing unparalleled customer service and effective defense in courts throughout Michigan.
Counties known for overzealous prosecution include Oakland County, Wayne County, and Macomb County. A great criminal defense attorney handling child support felony cases will do what is necessary to get the case dismissed, negotiate an extraordinary plea bargain, and convince a judge to give an extremely lenient sentence.
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.