The House Law and Justice Committee today approved legislation by state Rep. Peter Lucido seeking to protect children from criminals with multiple abuse violations.
“All forms of repeated child abuse are despicable and should be treated with increasing penalties,” said Lucido, vice chair of the Law and Justice Committee. “We have to protect our future and most precious citizens better. This will do that by putting the people who are reckless over and over again someplace where they can’t hurt kids.”
House Bill 4486 strengthens penalties starting with a second conviction, expanding possible prison time up to five years for a third-degree offense and two years for a fourth-degree violation. Current law allows for two-year and one-year sentences for respective convictions.
A third-degree violation occurs when an individual “knowingly or intentionally” causes a child to be harmed, while a fourth-degree infraction involves reckless actions that leads to the physical harm. Under Lucido’s legislation, any prior child abuse conviction – regardless of degree – counts as a repeat violation and qualifies for more strict sentencing.
First-degree violations, which a defendant “knowingly or intentionally” intended to cause serious physical or mental harm to a child, can carry up to life imprisonment. A second-degree infraction can include a penalty of 10 years in prison for a first violation, 20 years for the second.
“Regardless of the offense, these are all acts with potentially terrible lifelong effects on children and we need to level the field,” said Lucido, of Shelby Township. “This gives our law enforcement and prosecutors another weapon to defend our kids.”
HBs 4486 and 4487 both advance to the House for its consideration.