Child Abuse

Elements of Offense - Ann Arbor, MI - Washtenaw County

The offense of Child Abuse is committed when a child’s parent or guardian knowingly or intentionally injures a child under 18 years of age. This charge carries various levels of punishment depending on the seriousness of the injury or acts committed. A parent or guardian is permitted to take steps to reasonably discipline a child, including the use of reasonable force, which can be an absolute defense to the charge of Child Abuse.

A parent/guardian commits Child Abuse in the 1st degree if he/she knowingly or intentionally causes serious physical or mental harm to a child. It is a felony punishable by up to 15 years imprisonment. Serious physical or mental harm includes broken bones, injured internal organs, or persisting psychological injury. The aggravated nature of the injury is what will make simple Child Abuse a 15-year felony offense. A person convicted of 1st Degree Child Abuse in Washtenaw County can spend a minimum of 3-5 years in prison and a maximum of 15 years in prison.

A parent/guardian commits Child Abuse in the 2nd degree if his/her omission or reckless act causes serious physical or mental harm to a child; OR he/she knowingly or intentionally commits an act likely to cause serious physical or mental harm to a child regardless of whether harm results; OR he/she knowingly or intentionally commits an act that is cruel to a child regardless of whether harm results. 2nd Degree Child Abuse is a felony punishable by up to 4 years imprisonment. A person convicted of 2nd Degree Child Abuse in Washtenaw County can spend a minimum of 6-12 months in jail, along with probation, significant fines and costs, counseling, treatment, and anger management courses. Prison time is possible.

A parent/guardian commits Child Abuse in the 3rd degree if he/she knowingly or intentionally causes physical harm to a child; OR he/she knowingly or intentionally commits an act that under the circumstances poses an unreasonable risk of harm or injury to a child and the act results in physical harm to a child. 3rd Degree Child Abuse is a felony offense punishable by up to 2 years imprisonment and the minimum sentence for this offense can be 30 days in the county jail, jail work program, probation, anger management courses, fines and costs, and treatment.

A parent/guardian commits Child Abuse in the 4th degree if his/her omission or reckless act causes physical harm to a child; OR he/she knowingly or intentionally commits an act that under the circumstances poses an unreasonable risk of harm or injury to a child regardless of whether physical harm results. 4th Degree Child Abuse is a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to 1 year in jail. A typical sentence for Child Abuse in the 4th Degree in Washtenaw County is 2 years on supervised probation, jail work program, anger management courses, fines and costs, and treatment.