Domestic Violence versus Assault: What’s The Difference?

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Assault vs. Domestic Violence – What’s the difference?


This is a question our criminal defense attorneys get asked a lot. What is the difference between Domestic Violence and Assault? Is there even a difference in Michigan? And if so, how could it affect me? We understand that this can be a confusing subject. So we’ve decided to break it down for you in the hopes of making things a little easier to understand. Here goes…


Domestic Violence:

Under Michigan law, Domestic Violence, which is also known as Domestic Assault, is defined as any form of domestic violence done to any person who is in a domestic relationship with you. This could include any kind of assault or battery. In fact,the victim doesn’t even need to be injured for prosecutors to bring a domestic assault charge against you. The relationship between the alleged assailant and the alleged victim is what defines this charge.


Domestic violence charges fall into two categories in Michigan: Domestic Assault and Aggravated Domestic Assault. The difference is that domestic assault is any form of assault or battery of the victim and could result in misdemeanor charges punishable by up to 93 days in jail and a $500 fine. Aggravated Domestic Assault is the charge used when the victim is harmed badly enough to need medical attention, but the violence didn’t involve a weapon. This would be charged also as a misdemeanor but the jail time would be increased to 1 year and the fines would be $1,000.



Assault, without the ‘domestic’ attachment, refers to any act of violence, or imminent violence against another person who isn’t in a relationship with the assailant. In Michigan there are several ways that Assault can be charged.


Simple Assault: This refers to the basic crime of assaulting or battering someone. If someone assaults, or assaults and batters another person, this is charged as a misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 93 days in jail, a possible $500 fine, or both.

Aggravated Assault: An aggravated assault is defined as battery with an aggravated injury. Similar to simple assault, this charge doesn’t include the use of a weapon and so is still charged as a misdemeanor. It is  punishable by up to 1 year in jail, with a fine of $1,000, or both.

Felonious Assault: Felonious Assault refers to assault that involved the use of a dangerous weapon. However, isn’t limited to only a gun, a knife or brass knuckles. Numerous things can qualify as dangerous weapons if they can be used to harm someone else. A beer bottle, a glass ashtray and even tools can count as dangerous weapons. This charge is a felony under Michigan law and is punishable by up to four years in prison and fines of up to $2,000, or both.


Michigan law includes several other assault charges that are much more serious. Assault with Intent to do Great Bodily Harm Less Than Murder and Assault with Intent to Commit Murder are both felonies that are punished very harshly.


Until then, if you or a loved one have been charged with Domestic Violence or Assault in Michigan, contact us immediately at 866-766-5245. The highly skilled defense attorneys at The Kronzek Firm have decades of experience successfully defending clients who have been accused of assault, felonious assault, domestic violence and many other crimes in Michigan. Our proven results are a testament to the hard work and dedication we commit to in every single case we take on. Call us today. We are here to help you.


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