Domestic Violence Essential Information
There are consequences that are associated with a domestic violence conviction that can last a lifetime. Talk to a local criminal defense lawyer that may be able to find a way for you to avoid a conviction. Remember, being guilty does not always mean that you will be found guilty.
Contact ABDO LAW if you are being charged with any assault crime, including domestic violence, to discuss all your options and find out if you can get your case dismissed without any conviction. CALL for a Free Confidential Consultation: 586-412-5555.Domestic Violence Court Sanctions and Collateral Consequences
Don’t settle your domestic violence case without getting an experienced local criminal defense lawyer that knows every possible option in representing individuals charged with a misdemeanor or felony. There are several landmines that go along with a domestic violence criminal record. You might be thinking,
“What’s the worse that can happen if I just go to court and plead guilty without a lawyer?”
Pursuant to MCL 750.81, a person found guilty of domestic violence, or assault, can be sentenced to serve up to 93 days in jail and be placed on probation for up to 2 years. A person convicted for domestic violence, or assault, for a second offense faces up to 1 year in jail. A third offense is a felony which can carry up to 5 years in prison. Domestic violence offenders are often placed on probation with the following conditions:
- Substantial fines and court costs
- Testing for alcohol and drugs
- No-contact with alleged victim during entire term of probation
- No use of alcohol while on probation
- Attending short or long anger management program
- Attending short- or long-term counseling
- Reporting to a probation officer
- Restricted travel rights
- Restitution to the victim for any losses sustained
In addition to the above court sanctions, there are several other harsh collateral consequences upon being convicted of domestic violence, or any other assault related crime, including the following:
- Loss of gun ownership and/or CPL rights
- Loss of certain license(s)
- Inability to keep or obtain employment in health care
- Inability to work in other fields such as law enforcement or teaching
- Inability to coach sports that involve minors
- Landlords may refuse to rent to someone with an assault conviction
- Deportation, denial of citizenship or reentry into the United States
Getting the right lawyer that will protect your constitutional rights and has proven strategies to get your case dismissed at the pretrial conference, probable cause conference or trial can save you from getting hit with a domestic violence conviction that can have permanent negative personal and professional ramifications.A Criminal Record for Domestic Violence Is Not OK!
A criminal case does not get dismissed just because the person charged is a good guy that gives to charities and has never been in trouble. However, there are ways that allow us to get a domestic violence or assault offense dismissed or under control, including the following:
- Self-defense or defense of others
- Physical contact was necessary to escape from irrational person
- Alleged victim does not want to testify or appear for trial
- The mental illness of either party
- The use of alcohol or drugs by either party
- Alleged victim recants original report
- Inconsistent police report statements
- Motives arising from a pending divorce
- Prior record of abuse may be admissible
- Videos and recordings: 911 call, police body cam,
- Home surveillance videos
- Witness statements, text messages
- Social media posts
Any of the above factors can have an impact on the disposition of a domestic violence case including the potential to avoid a conviction or facilitate a not guilty verdict.What if the Alleged Victim Wants the Case Dismissed?
There are several obstacles to overcome in order to get a domestic case dismissed when the victim does not want to testify or appear in court against the party that is facing charges. Some of those obstacles include policy issues, subpoena/contempt powers, and allegations of witness intimidation. Being successful in getting a domestic violence case dismissed is a fragile process that must be handled with precision. Ultimately, the prosecutor is the one that makes the decision whether to dismiss a criminal case.
Prosecutor’s Policy: Certain prosecutors have strict policies and intend to proceed against anyone charged with a domestic violence case even when the victim does not intend to appear or is being uncooperative. Here are some of the prosecutor’s options in handling an uncooperative witness:
- Use the sheriff to detail and transport an uncooperative witness.
- Charge a victim with filing a false police report if the witness changes the story.
- Proceed to trial without any witnesses if other reliable evidence and witness statements exist.
Subpoena to Appear: A subpoena is an order issued by the court. A person that does not obey a subpoena may be found in contempt of court. Contempt of court may result in a jail term. In addition, the sheriff may detain and transport the uncooperative witness to court as directed.
Witness Intimidation or Tampering: Anyone that threatens or intimidates a witness against testifying can be charged with witness tampering and face a criminal conviction and incarceration. In Michigan, pursuant to MCL 750.122, a person that attempts to influence a witness, intimidate a witness, or obstruct the ability of a witness to testify can be charged with a felony that can carry up to 4 years in prison.
The following factors are relevant when a witness does not want to appear or testify in a domestic violence or assault case:
- The witness is voluntarily asking for a dismissal of the charges.
- The witness does not intend to appear at any subsequent proceedings and is not under any intimidation or threats.
- The alleged victim has not sustained egregious injuries.
- The alleged victim has communicated these intentions to the prosecutor and/or police officer in charge of the case and does not appear to be in danger or under any threats of retaliation by anyone.
Getting a domestic violence case dismissed under the above circumstances applies to other misdemeanor and felony assault crimes such as aggravated assault, assault with a dangerous weapon and assault by strangulation.Interfering or Preventing a Crime Report
Pursuant to MCL 750.483a, it is a crime that can carry up to 1 year in jail for preventing or attempting to prevent, by use of physical force, a person from reporting a crime committed by another person. Getting charged under this statute is often seen as a second count along with a domestic violence case. Taking a telephone away from the alleged victim is sufficient to get charged under this statute.Getting a Dismissal Pursuant to MCL 769.4a
Pursuant to MCL 769.4a, a person charged with domestic violence may utilize this statute to get a domestic violence case dismissed. This provision of law can be requested by a person that pleads guilty or is found guilty of domestic violence and has not had any other assault related convictions. MCL 769.4a status means that the guilty party is placed on probation for a period of 1 year and is expected to comply with all terms of probation case. At the end of a period of probation and upon compliance, the case is dismissed, and the record is sealed. MCL 769.4a is an excellent option when the victim does not agree to an outright dismissal and the case is not suitable for trial.
Let ABDO LAW help you regain your sanity if you are facing any misdemeanor or felony domestic violence or assault charge. Having a law firm on your side with more than 40 years’ experience getting assault cases and domestic violence cases dismissed is a step in the right direction. CALL for a Free Confidential Consultation: 586-412-5555.