Are Crimes Punished More Harshly When They Happen in Front of Children? (Pt 2)

April 21, 2018 Abuse and Neglect Attorney
Boy in thought
A child who witnesses a crime is affected, even if you can’t see the impact it has on them!

Welcome back, and thanks for joining us again for this discussion on whether or not crimes are punished more harshly if children are present when they’re committed. As we discussed in our previous article, children are physically and emotionally vulnerable, and being present for criminal activity can have numerous effects on them, not all of which are immediately apparent. But does the law treat a crime differently if it happened in the presence of a child? In most cases, the answer is definitely yes!

Many crimes are handled differently when kids are present!

A man in Gladwin County is learning this lesson as we speak. When Gladwin County Sheriff’s Office accompanied Michigan Department of Corrections officers on a probation check to David Prenger’s house, they discovered evidence of a meth lab. But what was even more concerning was the child that lived at the house.

30-year-old Prenger was found to be in violation of his probation (operating a meth lab is, after all, illegal in Michigan!) But the charge he is facing is far more specific than just operating a methamphetamines lab. Instead he has been charged with Operating a Meth Lab in The Presence of a Minor Child, which is far more serious! He is currently being held on a $500,000 bond in the Gladwin County Jail.

Committing crimes in front of children is a recipe for disaster!

In addition to the fact that the charges for committing crimes in front of children are likely to be far more serious, there is also the issue of CPS to worry about. If you are arrested for criminal activity that in any way jeopardized a child, even if they weren’t harmed, the police are likely to call CPS. And once CPS is involved, you can be certain that your problems are only beginning!

People accused of any kind of criminal activity that a child was party to, or that they witnessed, even if the child wasn’t harmed in any way, is likely to result in a call to CPS. If a CPS worker believes that a child was in any way negatively affected, they can remove the child from your custody, and in some cases, even petition the court to have your parental rights terminated. Trust us when we say it simply isn’t worth the risk!

Committing crimes in front of children is a recipe for disaster!

We want to take this opportunity to remind our readers that children are vulnerable, and being exposed to criminal activity is harmful to them, often in ways that aren’t visible. So please be aware of how your choices may affect the children around you! And keep in mind that even if you never intended to harm a child, law enforcement and CPS can complicate your life in significant ways simply because a child was present when you made a bad choice or a mistake! So be aware, and keep your kids in mind!