Domestic Violence Defense Attorneys
“Domestic Violence” often conjures certain images. Sometimes that means a stoned man angrily pushing his live in girlfriend or his wife. Despite this popular notion, domestic violence is much more broad than what it is sometimes portrayed in the mainstream media.
Here in Michigan, domestic violence is also called as domestic assault and is, more generally, a domestic crime. Any assault can be considered a domestic assault if there is a domestic relationship between the defendant and the victim.
This means that a domestic assault can occur when a man assaults a woman or another man, and also when a woman assaults a man or another woman. Domestic violence also includes an assault of a child by a parent.
To repeat, in order for it to be domestic violence, there has to be some domestic relationship between the defendant and the victim. Michigan law specifies different varieties of domestic relationships:
- Spouse or former spouse
- A current or past dating relatinship (“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
Two Types of Domestic Assault
In Michigan, there are two types of domestic assault: regular domestic assault and aggravated domestic assault. For both, there must always be a domestic relationship between the victim and the defendant.
Regular Domestic Assault:
This involves battery. The defendant can still be charged with domestic assault even when the victim was not physically injured.
The first offense of this crime is a misdemeanor, which may result in up to 93 days in jail, up to a $500 fine, or both. The second offense is also a misdemeanor crime, which may result in up to 1 year in jail, a $1,000 fine, or both.
The third offense is a felony, which may result in up to 2 years in prison, up to a $2,500 fine, or both. Here in Michigan, convictions for domestic assault almost always come with a long term of probation in addition to possible jail time and domestic violence classes.
Aggravated Domestic Assault:
This is a step further than regular domestic assault. With aggravated domestic assault, the former crime results in injury to the victim.
If a dangerous weapon was used to injure the victim, then this is an even worse crime known as felonious assault. As the name suggests, a felonious assault is a felony whether or not this is the defendant’s first time being charged with the crime.
The first offense of an aggravated domestic assault is a misdemeanor crime. This may result in up to 1 year in jail, up to a $1,000 fine, or both. The second offense is a felony crime, and may result in up to 2 years in prison, up to a $2,500 fine, or both. Probation is usually a given.
Dangers of Domestic Assault
It is serious and often very scary to be investigated for a crime. Being investigated in Michigan for a domestic assault allegation can be especially frightening because our justice system is overly zealous to arrest and prosecute people for this assault crime. Below we outline some of the Michigan statutes that make this very clear:
Arrest Without a Warrant
For most crimes, police are required to obtain an arrest warrant from a magistrate or judge before they are able to arrest someone they believe is guilty of a crime. There are a couple of exceptions to this rule, and one of the exceptions is in domestic assault cases. Officers do not have to witness the assault to make the arrest.
All they need is reasonable cause to believe the assault occurred, and that the suspect and victim are engaged in a domestic relationship. Because it becomes quite easy to arrest someone for domestic violence, what our criminal defense attorneys often see is an alleged aggressor being taken to the police station any time the police respond to a domestic violence call.
Rules of Evidence
Michigan’s normal Rules of Evidence prohibit using past criminal convictions in court to prove the defendant is guilty in the present. However, this is yet another exception in domestic violence cases: past domestic violence convictions are more freely admissible in court. In other words, if a defendant was guilty in the past, this can be used as evidence that the defendant is guilty this time too.
More Serious Penalties for Domestic Assaults
Domestic assault differs from non-domestic assault in that the more times a person is convicted, the harsher the penalties become. In cases of non-domestic assault, a person will generally receive a maximum penalty only if the circumstances of the assault are severe enough to warrant the maximum penalty.
What can I do to keep assault convictions off my criminal record?
To begin, you should have a team of extremely experienced domestic assault defense attorneys on your side. Luckily, you don’t have to look any further: The Kronzek Firm is a premium-level, full-service Michigan criminal defense law firm. We have received many favorable results throughout Michigan and you can even read about us in Newsweek magazine!
Sometimes we can also negotiate to have our clients participate in Michigan’s “DV Deferral” program. This program allows those charged with domestic violence for the first time to be placed on probation.
The defendant and the prosecuting attorney have to agree to the defendant’s one-time placement in this Michigan domestic violence deferral program. Oftentimes, there are various conditions that come with probation. Some conditions might be mandatory counseling, drug treatment, jail, no contact with the victim, and much more.
Once the defendant successfully completes the deferral program, the case against him/her will be dismissed. No adjudication of guilt will be made, and no domestic violence conviction will be put on the defendant’s public record. Completing the DV Deferral program is like never having been convicted of a crime in the first place.
The DV Deferral program is pretty similar to other deferred sentencing programs under HYTA and 7411. With the DV Deferral program, however, the defendant must follow all conditions of probation, or else the court can revoke the defendant’s deferred sentencing. Revocation of deferred sentencing would mean that the defendant would be sentenced with first offense domestic assault or aggravated domestic assault. They would also receive their domestic assault conviction on their public criminal record.
Your Domestic Assault Defense Attorneys
If you are dealing with a potential domestic assault conviction, you will have two major forces working against you. The first force is the difficulty of navigating the deferred sentencing options in Michigan courts. The second obstacle is our justice system’s propensity to try to quickly prosecute a defendant suspected of committing domestic assault.
Warrantless arrests and harsh penalties makes it imperative for you to find trusted and successful domestic violence defense attorneys. At The Kronzek Firm, we will work with you to fight back against the assumption that everyone arrested for domestic violence is actually guilty.
Our expert criminal defense lawyers will guide you through the court process. We will attend hearings with you and will be on the lookout for violations of your constitutional rights by prosecutors. We are ready to defend you today without judging you!
We aggressively protect clients charged with domestic violence.
Don’t wait! Call 866-7-NOJAIL today!