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Assault Charges in Michigan

Under Michigan law, there are many different crimes that fall into the category of “assault.”  Usually, when presented with a police report and warrant request, the reviewing prosecutors will pick which assault charge to bring, based on their beliefs about the facts and circumstances of the case.

Sometimes police officers here in Michigan make a recommendation to the prosecuting attorney or request authorization for a specific assault charge. However, this is simply a police request and does not bind the prosecutor to approve anything specific. In fact, the prosecutor may not authorize any charges at all.

However, regardless of which charge the prosecutor picks, all prosecutors, judges and juries take assault accusations very seriously. That’s why it’s so important to have an experienced defense attorney representing you from the very start!

Assault and Battery

silhouette of a man holding a pipe as a weaponIn Michigan, Assault and Battery are commonly charged together, although they are legally considered to be different acts.

The definition of battery is the forceful, violent, or offensive touching of a person, or something closely-connected with the person. It is a crime that requires some sort of contact.

Assault, on the other hand, does not require contact. A person can be charged with assault if they intended to commit a battery upon the victim, or intended to make the victim fear an imminent battery, while at the same time the victim had a reasonable fear that they were going to be battered.

This can be confusing, as people often use the term “assault” when referring to physical contact that was harmful or violent in nature. This is just one more reason why it’s so important to have a good attorney on your side. The law and legal terminology are confusing more often than not! If you are facing assault charges or assault and battery charges in Michigan, it’s important to under the specific charges against you.

Types of Assault

There are different types of assault covered by the Michigan penal code. The following is a list of the most common variations of our assault charges, and a rough overview of what each one entails:

Domestic Assault

A woman slapping a man's faceDomestic assault refers to any assaultive situation when the defendant and victim either share or previously shared a domestic relationship. This includes having a child together. This could mean marriage or simply domestic partnership.

Domestic assault is sometime called domestic abuse, or domestic violence. When there is not, or has not been a domestic relationship between the alleged defendant and victim, the defendant will be charged with some form of non-domestic assault. Please read this for more information about Domestic Assault

Simple Assault

Simple assault is the term commonly used to describe basic assault in Michigan. Anyone who assaults, or assaults and batters, another person could be facing a misdemeanor charge, which is punishable by up to 93 days in jail, with the possibility of a $500 fine, or both.

Aggravated Assault

By definition, Aggravated Assault is battery with a serious or aggravated injury. However, aggravated assault does not involve the use of weapons of any kind, nor does the perpetrator intend to kill or seriously injure the victim. For this reason, this charge is a misdemeanor offense in Michigan, punishable by up to 1 year in jail, a possible fine of $1,000, or both.

Felonious Assault

silhouette of a man with a knifeFelonious Assault, also called Assault with a deadly weapon, refers to someone assaulting another person with an object that can cause serious injury. This could include more common forms of weapons, like a gun or revolver, a knife, brass knuckles, or a club. However, this can also include something that is not traditionally a weapon but can be used to harm another person, like a golf club, a beer bottle or a hammer.

Unlike other serious assault charges, in a felonious assault incident, the defendant is not required to have intended to commit murder or inflict great bodily harm less than murder. Under Michigan law, felonious assault is a felony punishable by up to 4 years in prison, or a $2,000 fine, or both.

An important factor to remember, is that If the felonious assault is alleged to have taken place in a weapon free school zone, the possible penalties include not only the 4 years in prison, but a higher fine of $6,000, and up to 150 hours of community service as well.

Another factor that could influence the charging or outcome of your case is that any firearm used in a felonious assault case could bring with it additional felony firearm charges. This could mean additional prison time for anyone convicted, along with other restrictions. Please read this for more information about Felonious Assault

Assault with Intent to do Great Bodily Harm Less Than Murder

a woman in a hospital bedAssault GBH, as it is often called, refers to a situation where a person assaults someone else, while intending to do great bodily harm, but not murder.  This is a felony under Michigan law, and is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, or a fine of up to $5,000.

Defendants often face this charge because prosecutors are not satisfied with the 4 year felonious assault penalty, and will over-reach and over-charge in an effort to increase the severity of the punishment. They also do this in an effort to posture themselves in a platform from which to negotiate plea agreements.

Assault with Intent to Commit Murder

Assaulting another person with the intention of murdering them is a felony in Michigan. This crime is punishable by up to life in prison. As with “Assault GBH” charges, the critical factor here is the alleged intent of the defendant. In this particular case, the intent is to murder someone.

However, just like with “Assault GBH” charges, the prosecutor often cannot tell what a person was thinking at the time that the assault took place, and so they bring charges hoping that the jury will buy it.

Defendants are often reluctant to put their fate into the hands of a jury, charged with deciding whether or not they were thinking about causing someone serious harm, or even committing murder. This presents special challenges for both the criminal defense attorney, and the prosecutor alike. Please read this for more information about Assault with Intent To Commit Murder

Assaulting, Battering, Resisting, Obstructing, or Opposing a Police Officer

close up of an officer's belt, complete with a taserThis crime refers to any instance where someone gets in the way of a police officer or other law enforcement personnel while they are attempting to carry out their duties. While this can include assaulting or battering an officer, it can also include a wide range of other actions, like refusing to cooperate with a direct order from an officer, or running from them, or threatening to use physical force, even if you don’t intend to.

The punishment for this crime depends upon the type of force used in the encounter with the law enforcement officer. Even a simple act like pushing or refusing to move out of the way is a felony punishable by up to two years in prison. Other types of assault, that require medical attention, cause impairment of a bodily function, or cause death each have increasingly severe penalties.

Assault With Intent to Commit Any Other Type of Felony

This refers to an assault that takes place while the defendant is committing another felony, simultaneously. This could include assaulting someone during a kidnapping, during a sexual assault, or during a robbery. There are a number of other crimes that, when coupled with an assault, can result in very serious penalties if you are convicted.

Examples include:

    • Assault with intent to commit armed robbery
    • Assault with intent to commit unarmed robbery
    • Assault with intent to commit sexual penetration
    • Assault with intent to commit sexual contact
  • Assault with intent to maim

Assault With Intent to Rob or Steal

a masked man carjacking a woman at gunpointIf someone assaults someone else with the intention of robbing or stealing from them, and the assailant is armed with a dangerous weapon or any object made to look like a dangerous weapon, the crime is punishable by a prison term of any number of years up to life.

It is important to remember that this charge can be brought as “armed” or “unarmed” depending on the circumstances. In an instance where the defendant was armed, it is important to remember that according to the law, the defendant didn’t have to have a dangerous weapon with them at the time of the assault in order to be charged with this crime. Even a toy gun used in a threatening way, or used in such a way that the victim cannot tell that it’s a toy, is enough.

Under Michigan law, Assault with intent to rob or steal (unarmed) is a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Assault with intent to rob or steal (Armed) is punishable by up to life in prison.

Sexual Assault

While sex crimes are, in many ways, a whole different kettle of fish, there are a couple of sex-related crimes that involve assault. Assault with intent to commit sexual penetration is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison, while Assault with intent to commit sexual conduct involving contact, also a felony, is punishable by up to five years in prison.

A conviction for a sexual assault crime normally requires registration on Michigan’s public Sex Offender Registry. Please read this for more information about Assault with intent to commit Sexual Penetration. Please read this for more information about Assault with intent to commit Sexual Conduct involving Contact

Assault With Intent to Maim

Assault with intent to maim is the crime of assaulting someone with the intention of causing them permanent disfigurement. As described in the Michigan criminal law, this could include cutting out someone’s tongue, cutting off a body part like a finger or an ear, gouging out an eye, cutting off an arm or leg, or disfiguring their nose or lips in some permanent way. Under state law, this is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Your Assault Defense Attorneys

At The Kronzek Firm, we believe that an aggressive assault defense lawyer is critical. In most assault cases, the prosecution relies heavily on the testimony of witnesses in order to prove its case. Typically, witnesses are often agitated, excited, angry, or intoxicated at the time of the alleged attack.

That’s why, in the hands of a skilled defense attorney, the testimony of these witnesses can fall apart. There is much research about the unreliability of eyewitness testimony that our experienced defense team understands.

Our trusted attorneys have decades of combined experience representing clients charged with state or federal crimes. We know the ins and outs of assault defense, and have achieved favorable results for many of our past clients. We take the defense of each assault case seriously, whether it is a simple assault charge or an assault with intent to commit murder charge.  

You don’t have to do this alone. We understand what you’re going through. Call us today, and let us help you.

To speak to an assault defense attorney today, call 1-866-766-5245.

More information on Assault Charges

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