Welcome back and thanks for joining us. We’ve been talking about what happens when CPS petitions the court to have your children taken away, and what you can do about it. But before we continue, we just want to remind all our readers of one very important thing, and that is: Don’t run away with your children! Hiding your children, or trying to flee with them to another state will only make things worse! Once the court has ordered that your children must be removed from your care, refusing to comply can result in you being charged with kidnapping, which is a felony crime in Michigan!
The CPS trial: What happens now determines the outcome of your case!
If the Judge decides that there’s enough evidence against you at the probable cause hearing, your case will go to trial. This is the next phase, and it’s during the trial that the outcome of your child abuse or neglect case will be determined. In most cases, the trial is held before a Judge or a referee, but there will be a limited time beforehand where you can request that your trial be held in front of a jury. That, however, is the kind of decision that can have a huge impact on the outcome of your trial, and needs to be discussed in detail with your attorney first!
At the trial, the Judge (or the jury, if that’s the route your attorney advises you to go) will determine if the allegations against you are true or not. In order for CPS to prove that you’re guilty of the abuse or neglect that they’re accusing you of, they have to use ‘a preponderance of the evidence’ as the standard of proof. This means the state is obligated to prove that ‘it’s more likely than not’ that your child was abused or neglected by you. It’s important to remember that this isn’t the same standard of evidence used in criminal trials, where the prosecution has to prove ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ that the accused is guilty. (The only exception to this is if they’re trying to terminate your parental rights – then the standard of proof is higher.)
What are the possible outcomes in a Michigan CPS trial?
One option is that the allegations will be dismissed and your kids will be returned to you if they were taken away by the state. Technically only criminal charges are ‘dismissed’, while CPS allegations are found to be ‘unsubstantiated.’ However, there are lots of other similarities between CPS and criminal trials. For example, both CPS and the defense attorney of the accused will present evidence and witnesses to support their claims. If the Judge or jury decides that the claims are unsubstantiated, your name will be removed from the Central Registry, and the petition against you will be dismissed. But what happens if they’re substantiated?
If the court decides the allegations against you are substantiated, the judge has several options, ranging from simply issuing you a warning, to requiring that you participate in services recommended by CPS, or ordering the removal of your kids. But remember, unless your parental rights are terminated, the end goal here is reunification. This means the agency is required to work with you towards the end goal of returning your children to your care. However, while that sounds great, the reality is that the process can take many months, and you may be required to jump through endless legal hoops. That’s why you need an experienced CPS defense attorney.
You can’t fight this battle alone! You need our help!
Fighting CPS requires experience, tenacity, and a whole bag of tricks that only come from years of successfully navigating many battles with them in the past. Our experienced CPS defense attorneys have spent decades defending the families of mid-Michigan against invasive and overzealous CPS workers. We’ve helped keep many families together, and have protected many accused parents from false accusations, and from having their kids taken away from them for ridiculous reasons. We can help you too. Call 866 766 5245 immediately, and hire an aggressive warrior to fight beside you.