Welcome back, we’re glad you’re taking the time to read this information, even if it’s sometimes hard to hear. We understand that child abuse is a rough subject to talk about, and almost no one wants to read about how many years you can end up behind bars if you’re accused of hurting or neglecting a child. But this is the kind of information that, when you need it, you’ll be really glad you took the time!
In the previous article we looked at what First-and Second Degree Child Abuse involved in Michigan, specifically what the charges meant and what the punishments were. Moving on we’re going to look at the next two charges on our list – Third and Fourth Degree Child Abuse.
Third Degree Child Abuse
This particular charge is use when a parent, teacher, or another caregiver, knowingly or intentionally does something that causes physical harm to a child. When this charge is used, the prosecutor has to prove to the court that the child was actually hurt in some way, not just put at risk of being harmed. Another possible scenario, would be if someone knowingly or intentionally did something that, under the circumstances, posed an unreasonable risk of harm or injury to a child, and the child was actually hurt because of it.
Because emotional abuse is considerably harder to prove, this charge usually gets used when the abuse was physical or sexual. Third Degree Child Abuse is a felony in Michigan. It’s punishable by a prison sentence of up to two years.
Fourth Degree Child Abuse
Fourth Degree Child Abuse has less to do with intentionally hurting children, and more to do with negligence or carelessness. To be charged with this crime, a person’s “reckless act or omission” has to result in a child being harmed. It can also be used when someone did something that puts a child at risk of being harmed, even if nothing actually happened to the child.
Unlike the previous three degrees which are felonies, Fourth Degree Child Abuse is a misdemeanor under Michigan law. It’s punishable by up to a year in jail. Which means your sentence may involve jail time, not prison time, and your time behind bars will be counted in months, not years.
Being accused of child abuse in Michigan is devastating!
Join us next time, as we look at a few more examples of child abuse charges and what they would mean for you. Until then, if you or a loved one have been accused of abusing or neglecting a child, contact The Kronzek Firm immediately at 866 766 5245. The highly skilled defense attorneys at The Kronzek Firm have decades of experience protecting parents from overzealous prosecutors and invasive CPS agents. We can help you too!