Michigan Domestic Assault Laws
Domestic Violence Defense Attorneys
We aggressively protect clients charged with Domestic Violence in Lansing, Grand Rapids, Detroit, Ann Arbor, and throughout Michigan.
When we hear the words “domestic violence,” a certain picture comes to mind that includes a drunken man punching his wife. However, the truth about domestic violence is that this crime is much broader than that. In Michigan, domestic violence is also referred to as “domestic assault.”
The first thing required for a crime to be categorized as a domestic crime is that there is a certain type of domestic relationship between the defendant and the victim. Michigan domestic assault law lists these domestic relationships as:
• Person they are or were dating (“frequent, intimate associations primarily characterized by the expectation of affectional involvement”)
• Person with whom there is a child in common
• Person who resides or resided in the same household
It is important to note that, based on these definitions, domestic assault can be charged when men assault men and women assault men or women, and not only when men assault women. Any assault between people involved in a domestic relationship is a crime in Michigan.
What is domestic assault?
There are two types of domestic assault crimes in Michigan: regular domestic assault and aggravated domestic assault. To be charged with either of these crimes, the defendant must have a domestic relationship with the alleged victim.
It is considered domestic violence to assault or batter any person in a domestic relationship with you. The victim need not be injured for the prosecutors to bring a domestic assault charge.
A first offense is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 93 days in jail, up to a $500 fine, or both. A second offense is also a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail, up to a $1,000 fine, or both. A third offense is a felony, punishable by up to 2 years in prison, up to a $2,500 fine, or both.
Aggravated domestic assault
A charge of aggravated domestic assault would result from an assault on someone in a domestic relationship without the use of a weapon. Such an assault would cause a serious or aggravated injury requiring medical attention for the victim. If a weapon was used to cause the injury, that would elevate the crime to felonious assault, a felony regardless of whether it was a first or subsequent offense.
An aggravated assault first offense is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail, a $1,000 fine, or both. A second offense is a felony, punishable by 2 years in prison, a fine of up to $2,500, or both.
Dangers of domestic assault
Being investigated or charged with any type of crime is a serious and frightening situation. However, it seems that the justice system is all-too-happy to arrest and prosecute those people accused of domestic assault. There are various Michigan laws that make this viewpoint very clear, including:
Arrest without a warrant
In most types of criminal cases, the police must get an arrest warrant from a magistrate or judge before they can arrest a person whom they suspect is guilty of a crime. However, there are certain situations where the police can immediately arrest a person suspected of a crime. One of these situations is a domestic violence scenario. To make a warrantless arrest for domestic assault or aggravated domestic assault, law enforcement officers need only have reasonable cause to believe that an assault has taken place, and that the suspect and the victim are part of a domestic relationship. Officers do not even need to witness the domestic assault to make the warrantless arrest. This often results in an alleged aggressor being taken to the police station any time the police respond to a domestic violence call.
Rules of Evidence
Another difference surrounding a charge involving domestic violence is that the defendant’s prior domestic violence convictions are more freely admissible in court. Normally, the Michigan Rules of Evidence generally preclude the admissibility of past convictions to prove guilt of the present charge, but the Michigan laws make an exception for this in domestic violence cases.
More serious penalties for domestic assaults
The way the penalties increase for subsequent convictions with domestic assault differs from non-domestic assault (where that type of domestic relationship does not exist between the defendant and the victim). With non-domestic assault, the maximum penalties generally only depend on the circumstance of the assault and not the number of previous assault convictions of the defendant.
Can you keep this off my criminal record?
You will want extremely aggressive defense attorneys for your charge of domestic assault or aggravated domestic assault. Do not look any further. Our law firm is a premium-level, full-service criminal defense law firm. We practice criminal defense across Michigan and have delivered favorable results to our past clients. Read about us in Newsweek magazine!
There is a deferred sentencing program available for first-time domestic assault or aggravated domestic assault charges. If the defendant and the prosecuting attorney agree to the defendant’s one-time placement in this Michigan domestic violence deferral program, the judge will likely place the defendant on probation. There could be any number of conditions of probation that the defendant will have to follow, such as mandatory counseling, drug treatment, jail, no contact with the victim, and much more. This program is sometimes called the “DV Deferral.”
If the defendant successfully completes the entire term of probation, the case against him or her will be dismissed and no adjudication of guilt will be made. The defendant’s public criminal record will not show any domestic violence conviction; in fact, successfully completing the DV Deferral means that the defendant was not convicted of a crime at all. This deferred sentencing program is similar to the well-known deferred sentencing under HYTA and 7411.
However, if the defendant does not follow the conditions of probation, the court could order the deferred sentencing revoked. That means the defendant will be guilty of the first offense domestic assault or aggravated domestic assault and will be sentenced on that offense. His or her public criminal record will show a domestic assault or aggravated domestic assault conviction.
Dealing with deferred sentencing options in Michigan courts can be difficult. For that reason, attorneys who have experience dealing with the criminal justice system are the best option to work through that program.
Domestic assault defense attorneys
It is clear to see that the justice system is geared towards arresting and prosecuting those people suspected of committing domestic assault. From warrantless arrests to more serious penalties for domestic assaults, it seems the deck is stacked against accused “wife-beaters” or “spouse abusers.” That is why it is absolutely imperative to hire trusted and successful domestic violence defense attorneys. Your lawyer will fight back against the assumption that all people arrested for domestic violence are presumed to be guilty. A tough and experienced criminal lawyer will guide you through the court process and attend all hearings, keeping watch for violations of your constitutional rights by prosecutors.
Do not wait! Call 866-7-NoJail today!