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Child Neglect Charges Michigan

Here at The Kronzek Firm, our attorneys have been fighting child abuse and child neglect cases in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula for twenty five years. Simply put, our law firm is dedicated to keeping families together. In nearly all cases, parents will do a better job with their children than the state would do acting as a parent. We have kept many clients out of prison and the government out of their homes. We have aggressive criminal defense lawyers that will coordinate with our CPS defense team when that need arises.

Our attorneys are well respected legal advocates with extensive experience in child abuse and neglect cases. Let our team fight for your family. 

Children’s Protective Services (CPS) may become involved in your case if you have been suspected of, or accused of child neglect or child abuse here in Michigan. Depending on the nature of the case, parents can face CPS requests to the court to terminate parental rights (TPR). TPR cases are entirely separate from any additional criminal charges that are filed against you by a county prosecutor. Michigan law requires that in certain serious cases, CPS must ask the court to terminate parental rights entirely. 

While parents face CPS investigations and issues, sometimes additional criminal charges for child abuse are brought by a local prosecuting attorney. There are four different degrees of child abuse charges, all of which are serious crimes. The differences in degree are mostly the nature of the intent the accused had during the commission of abuse and whatever resulting harm came to the child. 

Child Abuse Crimes in Michigan:

First Degree Child Abuse Charges

Child Abuse in the First Degree is the most serious of child abuse charges in Michigan. A person facing a First Degree Abuse conviction is a felony punishable by imprisonment for life or any terms of years.

To be convicted of First Degree Child Abuse, the prosecutor must prove that the parent or a guardian having care, custody and authority over the child knowingly or intentionally caused “serious physical harm” or “serious mental harm” to the child. 

crying child“Serious physical harm” means any physical injury that seriously impairs the child’s health or physical well-being. These injuries might include brain damage, skull or bone fracture, subdural hemorrhage or hematoma, dislocation, sprain, internal injury, poisoning, burn or scald, or severe cut.

“Serious mental harm” means any injury to a child’s mental condition or welfare that is not necessarily permanent, but results in visibly demonstrable manifestations of a substantial disorder of thought or mood which significant impairs judgment, behavior, capacity to recognize reality, or ability to cope with ordinary demands of life. Yes, that’s quite a bit of legal and medical talk but our child abuse attorneys will be able to explain it to you in detail. 

Unfortunately, parents can be blamed for their child’s injuries simply because there was no other explanation. As life tells us, children can be injured in many ways: from an accident about which the parents are unaware,. Sometimes it’s from a sibling, orat the hands of another caregiver, etc. 

Here at The Kronzek Firm, we understand that parents shouldn’t be characterized as the bad guy just because there seems to be no other explanation. If you believe you may face child abuse or neglect charges, it is important for you to get expert help from a lawyer NOW! Let our team fight to keep your parental rights. 

Call us today at 1-866-766-5245. 

Second Degree Child Abuse Charges


Second Degree Child Abuse is another felony crime in Michigan. While it is less severe that First Degree Child Abuse charges, Second Degree Child Abuse is punishable for up to 10 years imprisonment for a first offense. If facing a second or subsequent offense, that imprisonment could be up to 20 years. 

Unlike First Degree Child Abuse charges, Second Degree Child Abuse does not require the accused to knowingly or intentionally cause physical or mental harm, or even to have brought harm upon the child.

A person is guilty of Child Abuse in the Second Degree if:

  • Person’s omission or reckless acts causes serious physical or emotional harm OR
  • Person knowingly or intentionally commits an act likely to cause serious harm regardless of whether harm resulted OR
  • Person knowingly or intentionally commits an act that is cruel regardless of whether harm resulted.

These standards are not easy to navigate. Call our aggressive criminal defense team at 1-866-7NoJail  Let’s fight the false allegations against you. 

Third Degree Child Abuse Charges

Third Degree Child Abuse is also a felony crime. It is punishable with up to 2 years in a Michigan prison. The main difference between Third Degree Child Abuse and the First and Second Degrees is that the child does not need to have suffered serious harm. 

A person is guilty of Third Degree Child Abuse under two possible circumstances. The first is when a person knowingly or intentionally causes physical harm to a child. The other way is if the defendant knowingly or intentionally committed an act that under the circumstances, poses an unreasonable risk of harm or injury to child, regardless of whether physical harm results.

Our Child Abuse Lawyers are available 24/7 for crisis intervention. We fight for wrongfully accused parents every day. 

Fourth Degree Child Abuse Charges

Fourth Degree Child Abuse is a serious misdemeanor crime. While the least severe of the four Child Abuse and Neglect charges, Fourth Degree Child Abuse should still be treated as a serious offense where violators face imprisonment for up to a year.  

Similar to Third Degree Child Abuse, serious physical harm of the child does not need to occur to be charged. Fourth Degree Child Abuse occurs in one of two ways. The first is when a person’s omission (failure to do something) or reckless act causes some physical harm to a child. The second is if the person knowingly or intentionally commits an act that under the circumstances poses an unreasonable risk of harm or injury to a child, regardless of whether harm actually results. 

These types of chargeable omissions occur when a parent or guardian intentionally fails to provide adequate food, clothing, or shelter for the child and that failure leads to child’s physical harm. Fourth Degree abuse can also occur if the parent behaves recklessly and such recklessness leads to physical harm of the child. 

Call our Experienced Child Abuse defenders AS SOON AS YOU REALIZE THAT POLICE ARE INVOLVED! If the alleged act against the child is sexual in nature, then you will likely face charges under Michigan’s Criminal Sexual Conduct statutes instead of Michigan’s Child Abuse/Neglect laws. It is not unusual for the prosecutor to file both charges against an accused defendant. Do not speak to the police alone. Do not speak to CPS without a lawyer being present.

Is it illegal to spank my child in Michigan?

No, it is not illegal to spank your child in Michigan. Child Abuse and Neglect laws specifically say that a parent, guardian, or other person permitted by law or authorized by a parent/guardian can take steps to reasonably discipline a child, including the use of reasonable force. 

Where spanking a child is parental discipline, it is legal so long as the child does not suffer physical harm as a result. As per the statute, parents are not allowed to use violence, only a reasonable amount of force. They key factor that police and CPS seem to focus on is whether any marks are left on the child after the physical discipline. If so, there could be a problem.  


A parent can be charged with Child Abuse for spanking if they used violence or an unreasonable amount of force. The prosecutor would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the force the parent used against the child exceeded that amount that was reasonable for disciplining. Sometimes, parents don’t realize that the force they used was unreasonable. Anything leaving marks or bruises or other injuries would be considered unreasonable. 

Any parent or guardian who has injured their child will need well-respected expert defense attorneys in court. Our child abuse team has 25 years of experience doing battle on behalf of parents. 

Parental Kidnapping

Parental Kidnapping is a serious felony offense and punishable by imprisonment for up to 1 year and a fine up to $2,000. It is illegal for any adoptive or natural parent of a child to take the child or retain the child for more than 24 hours with the intent to detain or conceal the child from any other parent or legal guardian who has custody or parenting time rights. 

Possible discharge and dismissals may be available to those who have not been convicted previously under any statute related to kidnapping. Furthermore, it is a complete defense to a Parental Kidnapping charge if a parent proves that his or her actions were taken for the purpose of protecting the child from an immediate and actual threat of physical or mental harm, abuse or neglect. 

You don’t have to navigate your case alone! Call our aggressive criminal defense team at 1-866-7NoJail 

What To Do If You Have Been Accused of Child Abuse or Child Neglect

Situations can escalate quickly. That said, if you are suspected of or charged with child abuse or neglect here in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, you should call an experienced child abuse defense attorney right away. Child abuse allegations can lead to criminal charges as well as separation from your family and children. When it comes to a child abuse or neglect cases, the earlier you hire a tough attorney – the better.

If you are accused of child abuse, you risk losing your parental rights and possibly going to prison. Prosecutors and CPS often target parents in Child Abuse and Neglect cases. In a CPS case, there are many forces working against you: the prosecutor, the guardian ad litem, social workers, the CPS investigator, sometimes even court-appointment psychologists/psychiatrists and medical doctors. The odds are stacked against the parents, making the need for a respected and experienced CPS defense attorney all the more prevalent.


Sometimes parents remain the targets of CPS even after acquittal of all criminal charges. There are several reasons this happens, but part of it is that CPS doesn’t need to have same level of proof that criminal courts do to separate children from their parents. Remember, hiring the right defense attorney is critical.

Parents are sometimes afraid to call an attorney because of various bullying tactics CPS uses. The police use some of those same intimidation tactics. In the past, CPS has threatened to take children away from parents who do not cooperate with their investigation. If facing this situation, you should never feel afraid to call an expert child abuse attorney who will fight to protect you and your family on the uneven playing field. 

Here at The Kronzek Firm, our goal is to keep you out of jail and keep your children at home with you. We use our decades worth of experience to help parents maintain their rights so they can continue spending time with their children. We will aggressively defend against allegations that you mistreated your kids. Our goal is to keep you free to raise your children. 

As soon as you believe you might be under investigation for child abuse or neglect, contact our expert attorneys! We have seen great success defending clients against child abuse and neglect charges in Lansing, Ann Arbor, Oakland County, Grand Rapids, Midland, Cadillac, Roscommon County, Livingston County, Genesee County, Jackson, Ionia, and through lower Michigan.

You can fill out our contact form online or speak to a highly experienced  child abuse lawyer right away by calling 1-866-766-5245 (1 866 7NoJail)

As soon as you believe you might be investigated for child abuse or neglecting a child, contact our expert attorneys! We have seen great success defending clients against child abuse and neglect charges in Lansing, Ann Arbor, Oakland County, Grand Rapids, Midland, Cadillac, Roscommon County, Livingston County, Genessee County, Jackson, Ionia, and throughout Michigan.

You can fill out our contact form online or speak to a highly experienced

child abuse lawyer right away by calling 1-866-766-5245.

1 866- 7NoJail

More Information on Child Abuse Charges in Michigan

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