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Birmingham Child Endangerment Lawyer

Birmingham law is dedicated to protecting vulnerable citizens, a group which naturally includes children. Any person who acts in a manner that may cause harm to a child could face harsh punishment, even in cases where that behavior is not intentional. Reckless or negligent acts can qualify under the Michigan Penal Code as child endangerment.

If you are facing child endangerment charges, seeking counsel with a Birmingham child endangerment lawyer could be a great first step. A seasoned attorney may be able to aid in understanding any charges or provide potential defense strategies.

Birmingham Laws Concerning Child Endangerment

The Michigan Penal Code does not address specific laws child endangerment. Instead, the behavior that may be considered child endangerment is classified as a form of child abuse. However, as any experienced Birmingham child endangerment attorney could tell you, this term often does not accurately reflect a situation.

Abuse invokes adults intentionally harming the physical or mental health of a child, which is not necessarily the case. Unintentional acts that result in harm are also considered to be child abuse under the Michigan Penal Code, as well as actions that could place a child in likely harm.

Types of Child Abuse and Possible Penalties

Michigan Penal Code §750.136b designates four levels of child abuse. These apply to different circumstances and may lead to different punishments upon conviction:

  • Child abuse in the first degree
  • Child abuse in the second degree
  • Child abuse in the third degree
  • Child abuse in the fourth degree

Child Abuse in the First & Second Degree

Child abuse in the first degree is a felony that occurs when an adult knowingly causes serious injury to a child. This can be mental or physical harm. Those convicted of child abuse in the first degree may be punished by up to a potential life sentence in prison.

Second-degree child abuse could occur when an adult’s omission, such as a failure to provide food, causes serious harm. Alternatively, this charge could apply when an adult knowingly acts in a way that could cause serious physical or mental harm, even if harm did not result. Child abuse in the second degree is a felony that could result in a potential prison sentence of up to ten years for a first offense conviction.

Child Abuse in the Third & Fourth Degree

Any act that intentionally causes physical harm to a child could be charged as child abuse in the third degree. Additionally, this charge covers any time an adult knowingly acts in a manner that places a child in harm’s way, and the child is harmed. Child abuse in the third degree is a felony punishable by up to two years in prison.

An adult may be charged with fourth-degree child abuse when their omission causes any harm to a child, or when a reckless or negligent behavior places the child in harm’s way, even if harm does not occur. This is a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to a year in prison.

In addition to any criminal prosecution involving child endangerment, the Michigan Department of Children’s Protective Services may take steps to intervene in the child’s home life. This can result in parents losing visitation or custody privileges, both of which are outcomes a Birmingham child endangerment lawyer could work with you to avoid.

Who Could Be Charged with Child Endangerment?

It is a common misconception that only parents can be charged with child abuse. However, any adult who has any custody or authority over a child could be charged with this crime, including teachers, babysitters, camp counselors, and nannies.

Any individual facing child abuse charges should seek out representation from a Birmingham child endangerment lawyer. Based on the adult’s relationship to the child, a skilled attorney could work to examine the facts of their case and refute criminal charges and or any additional claims from Children’s Protective Services.

How a Birmingham Child Endangerment Attorney Could Help

Allegations involving child endangerment can be extremely serious. A conviction could result in a criminal record, prison time, and could potentially damage a defendant’s career, in addition, to fundamentally altering other parts of their life.

A Birmingham child endangerment lawyer may be able to help regardless of the circumstances that led to your arrest. By examining the facts of your case, an attorney may be able to provide additional guidance, help you develop a strong defense, and pursue a positive solution on your behalf. Call today to set up a consultation.