Michigan criminal defense attorney

Michigan Child Abuse Laws

Michigan Child Abuse Law

All throughout Detroit and the state of Michigan the news of what is being called a heinous case of child abuse is being heard. The news of a Detroit Mom who killed two of her children and hid them in the freezer while the other children lived in the home has sent chills of horror across the state.

Currently this case remains under investigation. Yesterday, Mitchelle Blair, the accused mother of the children was arraigned on charges of child abuse. The Detroit News reported that murder charges would be forthcoming.

Mitchelle Blair was charged with

  • Four counts of first-degree child abuse.
  • Ine count of committing child abuse first-degree in the presence of another child.

Bond has been set at $1 million dollars.

To help understand what Blair is being charged with, I have put together the following information about child abuse in Michigan.

Child Abuse Laws in Michigan

What is Child Abuse?

The Department of Human Services defines child abuse as,

“Harm or threatened harm to a child’s health or welfare that occurs through non-accidental physical or mental injury, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, or maltreatment, by a parent, a legal guardian, or any other person responsible for the child’s health or welfare or by a teacher, a teacher’s aide, or a member of the clergy.”

What is Child Neglect?

The Department of Human Services defines child neglect as the following,

“Harm or threatened harm to a child’s health or welfare by a parent, legal guardian, or any other person responsible for the child’s health or welfare that occurs through either of the following:

  • Negligent treatment, including the failure to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, or medical care.
  • Placing a child at an unreasonable risk to the child’s health or welfare by failure of the parent, legal guardian, or other person responsible for the child’s health or welfare to intervene to eliminate that risk when that person is able to do so and has, or should have, knowledge of the risk.”

Child Abuse First Degree

According to the Michigan Penal Code, a charge of child abuse in the first degree is when a person knowingly or intentionally caused serious mental or physical harm to a child. In the state of Michigan this charge is a felony and punishable by life in prison or any term of years.

Child Abuse Second Degree

The Michigan Penal Code states that a charge of child abuse in the second degree is when any of the following applies,

  • When a person’s omission causes serious mental or physical harm.
  • If a person’s reckless act causes serious mental of physical harm.
  • When a person knowingly or intentionally commits an act that is likely to cause serious physical or mental harm, regardless of whether or not harm is caused.

The degree of child abuse is punishable for the first offense up to 10 years in prison and for the second and beyond offenses up to 20 years in prison.

Child Abuse Third Degree

The Michigan Penal Code defines child abuse in the third degree,

  • When a person intentionally or knowingly causes physical harm to a child.
  • When a person intentionally or knowingly commits an act that poses an unreasonable risk of harm or injury to a child and physical harm comes to the child.

This degree of child abuse is punishable by up to 2 years in prison.

Child Abuse Fourth Degree

According to the Michigan Penal Code, child abuse in the fourth degree is,

  • When a person’s reckless act or omission has cause physical harm.
  • When a person intentionally or knowingly does something that poses an unreasonable risk of harm or injury to a child, even if no harm comes to the child.

The degree of child abuse is punishable up to 1 year in prison.

Summary

The atrocious case of child abuse that Mitchelle Blair is charged with is dreadful news. It is difficult to understand how something like this could happen. Michigan’s child abuse laws are very clear on how child abuse will be dealt with for those who are convicted.

This article was published on: March 27, 2015 and was last modified March 28, 2015