The Criminal Defense Law Center of
West Michigan

Child Abuse Attorney
Grand Rapids, Michigan

Shawn Haff of The Criminal Defense Law Center of West Michigan is a dependable criminal defense lawyer for defendants charged with child abuse in Grand Rapids, Michigan or part of West Michigan.

Sometimes the best solution to your case is a plea deal and other times going to trial is the best solution. Either way, we will guide you down the best path if you are facing such extremely serious charges as:

  1. Child Molestation or sex abuse
  2. Criminal Sexual Conduct
  3. Possession of child pornography or child sexually abusive material
  4. Gross indecency
  5. Internet sex crimes

While child abuse is severe criminal care and only a few attorneys take up the case, you must always find defense attorneys to get the best results.

You could be facing a long jail or prison sentence if you do not retain skilled council to help you out. 

If you are arrested for Shoplifting or retail fraud in Grand Rapids, Michigan, you need to call the best criminal defense lawyer in Grand Rapids, Michigan Shawn Haff today at 616-438-6719.  Shawn has the proven track record to get you the best result possible. 

Shoplifting is a misdemeanor charge in Michigan. The strength of the defense your attorney presents will be the biggest factor in the outcome of your case.  Do not face this serious misdemeanor charge without a skilled criminal defense attorney by your side. Many people regret not retaining a lawyer to help them with these charges. 

In Michigan, retail fraud includes fraudulent merchandise returns, switching price tags, and failing to pay for items. Depending on the amount of money someone shoplifts, the penalties could be 93 days in jail, one year in jail or prison time. Penalties could also include huge fines and court costs.  Considering your freedom and more is at stake, you need to create the best possible defense you can with Criminal Defense Lawyer Shawn Haff.  

Intent to commit fraud — a key defense issue in a retail fraud case 

If a prosecutor is trying to convince a criminal court judge or jury that you have committed retail fraud, he or she must prove that you intended to deceive a mercantile in the act you’re accused of committing. For instance, if you notice that a price tag is lying on a shelf near an item you’re buying, and you think it belongs on the item but later find out it is the wrong price tag, you could wind up facing retail fraud charges. 

However, the prosecutor would have to prove that you put the tag on the item specifically to deceive the clerk and get the product for a lower price. If the prosecution team can’t prove that you intended to commit fraud, it’s unlikely that the court would hand down a conviction.  

How do you build a strong criminal defense? 

When you are arrested and charged with retail fraud or some other crime in Michigan, you must be granted the opportunity to refute the charges in court. You can start building a strong defense by learning more about the criminal justice system — how it works and what is expected of you in court.  

It’s also important to weigh your options for defense strategies and determine which one best fits your needs at the time. Asking someone with criminal trial experience to review your case is a good idea. This person can provide guidance and make recommendations as to what options are available to you, such as if you have an alibi or a personal rights violation took place in the process of your arrest. This type of support can help you obtain as positive an outcome as possible. 

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Michigan Child Abuse Laws

Under Michigan law, abuse of a child covers physical or mental harm to a child “…by an individual who is responsible for the child’s health and welfare.” Abuse of a child can include physical injury, sexual abuse, or maltreatment.

These crimes in Michigan are split into different categories, and the penalties a person charged with this extremely serious crime in Michigan face depend on the category of the crime. There are four categories of this crime in Michigan.

First-Degree Child Abuse Charges

In Michigan, First-degree is the most serious charge. If you are facing First Degree child abuse charges, law enforcement officials believe that a defendant has intentionally inflicted serious physical or mental harm on a child.

Examples of First Degree abuse against a child are when the child has suffered broken bones, injury to internal organs and brain damage. Local prosecutors will be looking to throw the book at anyone charged with inflicting this kind of damage on a child.

At The Criminal Defense Law Center of West Michigan, we understand that your child may have suffered serious injuries that were not caused by you. Our child abuse defense attorneys will fight to protect you against these extremely serious charges.

Second-Degree Child Abuse Charges

Second-degree charges of abusing a child in Michigan is defined by law as where a parent “willfully fails to provide adequate care to a child, and neglects a child’s basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter.” An example this kind of child abuse is a person drunk driving with a child in the car.

This crime in Michigan is punishable by up to ten years in prison.

Third-Degree and Fourth-Degree Child Abuse Charges

Third-degree and fourth-degree charges are both high considered misdemeanor charges. Anytime someone is facing a misdemeanor charge in Michigan for harming a child, they may face jail time if convicted. A third-degree charge comes about when the defendant knowingly or intentionally commits an act against a child that caused physical harm. The prosecutor must simply show that the child has been harmed in some way.

Third-degree is a felony. People convicted of this crime in Michigan face up to 2 years in prison. There are some attorneys and even judges who will refer to a charge that carries a maximum penalty of 2 years in prison as a high-court misdemeanor. However, if you are asked on an application if you have been convicted of a felony, you would have to answer yes if you are convicted of this charge.

Fourth-degree requires either of the following:

  • The parent or guardian willfully failed to provide food, clothing, or shelter necessary to the child and that the child suffered physical harm as a result; or
  • The parent or guardian committed a reckless act that resulted in physical harm to the child.

People convicted of this crime in Michigan face up one year in jail.

If you are a victim of abuse, tell your teacher, tell a police officer and seek help immediately!

Federal Child Abuse Charges

Federal Child Abuse legislation provides guidance to States by identifying a minimum set of acts or behaviors that define child abuse and neglect. The Federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) (42 U.S.C.A. § 5106g), as amended by the CAPTA Reauthorization Act of 2010, defines child abuse and neglect as at minimum:

  • “Any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation”; or
  • “An act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm.”

This definition of federal child abuse and neglect refers specifically to parents and other caregivers. A “child” under this definition generally means a person who is younger than age 18 or who is not an emancipated minor.

While CAPTA provides definitions for sexual abuse and the special cases of neglect related to withholding or failing to provide medically indicated treatment, it does not provide specific definitions for other types of maltreatment such as physical abuse, neglect, or emotional abuse. While Federal legislation sets minimum standards for States that accept CAPTA funding, each state provides its own definitions of maltreatment within civil and criminal statutes.

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