Assault Crimes

Assault crimes involve the intentional, non-accidental, use of force or the threat of force, without consent, against another person. Most assault crimes may be complete even though the other party is not injured. The threat of physical contact is sufficient. For example, a felony known as “assault with a dangerous weapon” (ADW), or felonious assault, may be charged even when a conventional weapon (gun, knife) is not used and no physical contact or injury occurs as we discuss in more detail below.

Misdemeanor and felony assault related crimes are consistently high on the list of crimes committed in Michigan and in our Macomb County Courts. Misdemeanors mean that punishment cannot exceed 1 year while a felony can be punished for more than 1 year up to life in prison.

Avoiding a felony conviction: Pursuant to Michigan and Federal laws, a person convicted of a felony cannot own or possess a firearm!

Listed below are prevalent assault crimes on the books in Michigan:

Assault CrimeMaximum Penalty
Attempted murderLife imprisonment
Assault with intent to murderLife imprisonment
Assault with intent to do great bodily harm10 years imprisonment
Assault by strangulation, suffocation10 years imprisonment
Assault with a dangerous weapon4 years imprisonment
Aggravated assault1 year in jail (misdemeanor)
Assault and battery90 days in jail (misdemeanor)
Domestic violence 1st offense93 days in jail (misdemeanor)
Domestic violence 2nd offense1 year in jail (misdemeanor)
Domestic violence 3rd offense5 years imprisonment (felony)

Other assault crimes include child abuse and assault with intent to commit criminal sexual conduct.

Assault with a dangerous weapon discussed

The crime of assault with a dangerous weapon is often the subject of great misunderstanding by those facing this charge. Assault with a dangerous weapon (ADW) is a felony. The crime of assault with a dangerous weapon does not require the use of a conventional weapon such as a gun or knife. An ordinary household object may be considered a weapon under this law. According the Michigan Criminal Jury Instructions, the following instruction is read to the jury regarding the term “dangerous weapon”:

A dangerous weapon is any object that is used in a way that is likely to cause serious physical injury or death. Some objects, such as guns or bombs, are dangerous because they are specifically designed to be dangerous. Other objects are designed for peaceful purposes but may be used as dangerous weapons. The way an object is used or intended to be used in an assault determines whether or not it is a dangerous weapon.

Assault crimes and restitution

The court can order payment of restitution to any victim, including third parties such as insurance companies, for losses attributed to the conduct of the offender. Restitution can be extensive when the injured party incurs major medical expenses attributable to the assault.

Restitution example: In a recent case where the assault resulted in a broken jaw, the injured party claimed and was awarded $9,000.00 in restitution for out-of-pocket losses. A plea bargain to a reduced offense was made contingent upon payment of restitution.

Defending assault crimes, self-defense, victim not appearing for trial

The stakes are high when someone is charged with an assault crime. An assault crime conviction can label someone as a potentially dangerous and violent person. A conviction can also mean losing valuable rights, including the right to own firearms, or obtain a concealed weapons license (CPL).

Often, a well-crafted legal defense can get a criminal case under control with minimal consequences. This means setting goals and formulating sound legal strategies to meet those goals. The ABDO LAW FIRM will examine every case to determine if our client acted in self-defense and a trial is the best option. Self-defense is explained in greater detail on a webpage dedicated to that topic. We also look for opportunities to resolve cases where a trial defense is doubtful. (See plea bargaining, probable cause conference and preliminary examination for more information.

Victim not appearing for trial: In situations when an alleged victim does not intend to appear at trial, the prosecutor may attempt to admit the police report and other statements in his or her absence. When this occurs, the defense can assert that the police report and statements are inadmissible hearsay and that the defendant is being denied his constitutional right to confront and cross-examine the witness.

Potential dispositions in the court system for adults and juveniles

Fortunately, various dispositions in the legal system may be possible to lessen the harshest consequences or have the offense dismissed and sealed.

  • HYTA for offenders age 17-23 to get dismissal & seal record
  • Dismiss & seal domestic violence first offense, MCL 769.4a
  • Negotiating a delayed sentence for leniency after a period of probation
  • Reduction of a felony to a misdemeanor (retain personal rights)
  • Consolidation of multiple charges for possible later expungement
  • Seeking diversion and consent calendar for juveniles
  • Pre-charge negotiating with victim or law enforcement agency
  • Reduction of assault crime to a non-violent crime; disorderly conduct
Legal entanglements are often manageable

Retaining a criminal defense lawyer should be your first priority if you are the subject of a criminal investigation or face an arrest warrant for criminal charges. ABDO LAW, established in Macomb County in 1980, provides unrivaled legal services to those that need highly rated criminal defense lawyers. In our 30 plus years of practicing criminal law, our firm has amassed 1,000’s of legal victories in every type of criminal matter. The scope of our practice includes representation for adults, juveniles, non-residents/Canadians, first time or repeat offenders charged with any misdemeanor or felony in Macomb, Oakland or Wayne or St. Clair County.

All it takes is one phone call to get answers to your most pressing legal questions and immediate attention to your legal problem by attorneys with the highest legal ratings.

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Michigan Criminal Lawyer Blog - Assault Crime