Michigan Criminal Lawyer Blog

Articles Posted in Child Abuse and Child Neglect

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The Michigan Bar Association releases crime data for the state from time to time. While researching cases, we came across an informative article written by the Michigan Bar Association regarding the most frequently charged felonies in the State of Michigan. This article can be viewed here: Top 50 Felonies Most Frequently Charged in Michigan. Based upon our experience, I would agree: this list is an accurate representation of the types of cases that our Macomb County criminal defense firm handles on a frequent basis.

Listed below is a selection of the top felonies charged in Michigan:
Possession of a Controlled Substance (heroin, cocaine, analogues)
• Possession of Marijuana (double penalty for second offense)
• Possession of methamphetamine (MDMA)
Possession with intent to deliver less than 50 grams (cocaine, narcotic)
• Possession of an Analogue controlled substance (pills)
• Possession with intent to deliver marijuana • Manufacturer or delivery of less than 5 kilograms of marijuana • Drunk driving – 3rd offense
• Assault with Dangerous/Deadly Weapon (“Felonious Assault”)
Assault with Intent to do Great Bodily Harm
• Resist/Obstruct a Police Officer & fleeing and eluding • Criminal Sexual Conduct – 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Degree • Keeping or Maintaining Drug House • Home Invasion
• Retail Fraud 1st Degree (Retail Fraud 2nd and 3rd Degree are misdemeanors)
• Larceny in a Building, Larceny from a Vehicle
Sometimes, the amount of loss will determine whether an offense is classified as a felony. Offenses, such as embezzlement and malicious destruction of property, are also on the list of top felonies when the value is $1,000.00 or greater. If the value of stolen property was less than $1,000.00, the offense would qualify as a misdemeanor.

Pursuant to the Michigan Sentencing Guidelines, felonies are further broken down into categories that determine the accompanying sentence. Punishment for each class is listed below:

  • Class A – Life imprisonment
  • Class B – Up to 20 years in prison
  • Class C – Up to 15 years in prison
  • Class D – Up to 10 years in prison
  • Class E – Up to 5 years in prison
  • Class F – Up to 4 years in prison
  • Class G – Up to 2 years in prison
  • Class H – Jail or other intermediate sanctions, such as fines

Note: A future blog will be dedicated to the Michigan Sentencing Guidelines.

Below, you will find connections to some of our blogs that are pertinent to felony cases:

All Felony-related Posts

Drug Possession

Felony Assault – Assault with a Deadly Weapon

Fleeing, Eluding and Obstructing the Police

First Degree Retail Fraud and Larceny

Third Drunk Driving Conviction

Child Abuse and Neglect

Felony Marijuana Possession
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This blog will explain the Michigan Child Neglect and Abuse laws and conclude with some of our legal strategies which are utilized to defend a client charged with child abuse or neglect. Our criminal defense attorneys approach child abuse and neglect cases with the utmost diligence and care. We invariably will recommend that a person who is investigated for child abuse or neglect refrain from discussing the case with anyone until a criminal defense lawyer is retained.

The Michigan Department of Human Services (DHS) is the government entity that is responsible for investigating suspecting reports regarding child abuse and neglect. DHS then makes a recommendation to the Family Court as to whether they think you are guilty of child neglect and/or for possible termination of parental rights. In addition, these reports are turned in to the police for possible criminal charges of child abuse or neglect. Names of individuals are placed on the statewide abuse and neglect Central Registry if there is a preponderance of evidence that the individual has abused or neglected their child and the future risk to the child is high or intensive.

Child Neglect

The Michigan statutory definition of child neglect is: 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: (1) negligent treatment, including the failure to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, or medical care, or (2) 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 neglect is when a child is harmed or threatened to be harmed by the failure to provide for the child or the failure to intervene when the child is already being harmed. A child neglect case does not require intentional conduct to harm the child but only a negligent act or failure to act.

Child Abuse

The Michigan statutory definition of Child Abuse is: harm or threatened harm to a child’s health or welfare that occurs from non-accidental physical or mental injury, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, or maltreatment by a parent, legal guardian, or any other person responsible for the child’s health or welfare.

Legal Strategies and Defenses

In many cases of alleged child abuse or neglect, a case may be resolved after the DHS has conducted an investigation. If the police get involved, they will invariably want to interview the child and parents for possible criminal charges. There are numerous concerns which our firm will explore in a case involving child abuse or neglect, such as:

-The child’s motives to lie (retaliation, attention getting)
-Psychological issues of the child -Whether the case involves “self defense”
-Possible manipulation of the child by a former spouse -Was the child restrained to prevent the child from self harm or harm to others
-Whether the parent’s conduct is excused because of “reasonable discipline”

Anyone facing a child abuse or child neglect case will lose the ability to think objectively. Most will react with anger and frustration which will often give the police and/or DHS the wrong impression. DHS initially has to deal with the allegations as though they are true for the protection of the child. This may mean removal of a child from the home during the pendency of an investigation. Every thing you say or do can have a lasting impact on a child neglect or child abuse case. For this reason, it is crucial to obtain legal representation at the earliest opportunity to set the record straight and avoid common mistakes or incriminating yourself.