Domestic Violence / Assault
Michigan’s domestic violence law is found at MCL 750.81 within the assault crime statutes. To best understand the crime of domestic violence, one must understand what constitutes an assault and battery. The crime of domestic violence/assault occurs when an assault or an assault and battery is committed coupled with a close relationship between the parties as defined by the domestic violence statute.
Assault is defined as an intentional illegal act that caused another to reasonably fear an immediate battery.
Assault and Battery is the intentional forceful, violent or offensive touching, however slight or minor, of another, or something closely connected with the person of another.
Domestic violence cases are given a special legal status in Michigan to protect those that are family members or in close relationships. The relationships that will support a charge pursuant to the Michigan Domestic Violence Laws are:
- Present or former spouse
- Person that defendant is dating
- Person residing in the same household with defendant
- Person who shares a child with the defendant
In the absence of a relationship between the parties as described above, an assault charge may be pursued.
ABDO LAW has handled in hundreds of domestic violence cases in Macomb, Oakland, Wayne and St. Clair Counties. Our case results consist of not guilty verdicts, dismissals, removal of no-contact orders and representation for domestic related felony assault crimes.Domestic Violence Penalties, Possible Felony Charges
The penalties for domestic violence are:Michigan Domestic Violence Penalties:
|1st Offense Misdemeanor||93 days in jail, fine up to $500.00|
|2nd Offense Misdemeanor||1 year in jail, fine up to $1,000.00|
|3rd Offense Felony||5 years in prison, fine up to $5,000.00|
When other facts are present in a domestic altercation, the prosecutor can authorize felony charges under Michigan’s assault statutes. The most common felony charges that we are seeing in connection with domestic situations are
|Felony Offense||Maximum Penalty|
|Assault with a dangerous weapon||4 years in prison|
|Assault with intent to do great body harm||10 years in prison|
|Assault by strangulation or suffocation||10 years in prison|
ABDO LAW provides comprehensive legal services including felony representation.Bond & Probation Conditions, No Contact Orders
Once a domestic violence or assault case is in the legal system, the court can impose bond conditions upon an alleged perpetrator before there is a conviction of any crime. Bond conditions can encompass numerous restrictions upon a party’s conduct and movement, including:
- No contact with the alleged victim, direct or indirect
- Alcohol and drug testing
- Global Position Satellite (GPS) Monitoring
- House Arrest
Once an offender is found guilty, the court can place the party on probation with any of the above conditions along with others that may include:
- Counseling and/or anger management program
- Substance abuse counseling, AA meetings
- Restrictions upon travel outside of Michigan
- Reporting to a probation officer
- Continuation of a no-contact order
- No possession of firearms
No contact orders are always a source of frustration. A “no-contact” order means that no-contact or communication is allowed by any means whatsoever, such as text messages, social media or through third parties. While a no-contact order is in force, a party is precluded from returning to the residence, having access to personal belongings or visitation with children.Getting No-Contact Orders Removed
The consent of the alleged victim is a requirement to get a no-contact order removed. Sometimes, a motion and a hearing is required before a court will respond to a request to vacate a no-contact order. Unfortunately, a hearing to lift a no-contact order or amend a bond condition may take several days before it is scheduled by the court. ABDO LAW has had favorable results in these matters and can say that the Macomb County district courts are user friendly when it comes to getting no-contact orders lifted.
When a no-contact order cannot be removed, the court may consider allowing limited contact, communications and access to the home to allow an individual to obtain personal belongings, retrieve mail, attend to business and exercise visitation with children. As a precaution, ABDO LAW will usually recommend that our clients have a witness or police escort present when returning to the residence to avoid being “set-up” or being ambushed in a hostile environment.
ABDO LAW can answer other questions pertaining to no-contact orders such as:
- Will the police provide assistance for someone to get personal belongings from a residence?
- Is an eviction required to throw out a person that won’t voluntarily vacate the premises?
- How does one file a case to get visitation or parenting while a domestic violence is pending?
A first offender charged with Domestic Violence in Michigan may be entitled to a plea bargain which will result in a dismissal of the charge upon compliance with conditions which are imposed by the court. This is an excellent option which many or our clients have accepted to get the charge dismissed while avoiding trial. Every Macomb County District Court will accept disposition of a domestic violence offense pursuant to MCL 769.4a. However, MCL 769.4a does have limitations:
- It is not available for a repeat domestic violence offender.
- It is not available for someone that is found guilty after trial.
- It is not available for other misdemeanor or felony assault crimes.
- It requires the consent of the victim and the prosecutor.
The key to MCL 769.4a is that the court will withhold entering the judgment of guilt. The proceedings are then deferred and the accused is placed on probation with conditions that may include anger management, family counseling, random drug/alcohol testing and a substance abuse program. Upon successful completion of probation, the case is dismissed. Upon violating probation, the court may enter an adjudication of guilt and sentence the defendant.
Our firm has negotiated this disposition (MCL 769.4a) for many clients who are guilty of domestic violence and do not wish to have public trial for the protection of themselves and other close family members, such as children, from testifying about graphic details of a domestic altercation.
In certain situations, our attorneys have had success in negotiating resolution of a domestic violence case without trial and without taking a plea to a domestic violence offense pursuant to MCL 769.4a. Examples of this may involve reduction of the offense to a non-assault crime such as disorderly conduct or amending the charge to a non-criminal offense.Resources for Domestic Violence Related Topics
Our attorneys can provide you with answers to these frequently asked questions if you are charged with domestic violence:
- What if the victim does not want to testify?
- What if the victim does not want to appear in court?
- What if the victim wants the case dismissed
- What if the victim does not agree to lift the no contact order?
- What if the victim changes his or her story with the police?
- What can I do if the victim won’t move out of the house?
In addition, ABDO LAW has published many pertinent articles on the subject of domestic violence which may answer these questions and more. Please feel free to browse our publications that are referenced and linked as follows:
- Public Policy Reasons Make it Difficult to Get a Domestic Violence Case Dismissed
- When a Misdemeanor Assault or Domestic Violence Escalates to a Felony
- How Am I Being Charged With Domestic Violence / Assault When I Acted In Self-Defense?
- Can I be charged with a crime if only one person says I did it and there are no other witnesses or evidence (commonly called "he said/she said" cases)?
- Imposition of No Contact Orders for Persons Charged with Michigan Criminal Offenses; Assault, Stalking, Domestic Violence
- Part 1: Domestic Violence Cases in Macomb and Oakland County, Michigan, Investigation, Arrest and Statements by the Accused
- Part 2: Domestic Violence Cases in Macomb and Oakland County, No-Contact Orders, Dismissals for First Offenders
- Part 3: Domestic Violence Cases in Macomb and Oakland County; Court Process, Victim Failing to Appear in Court, Victim Providing a Contrary Statement
ABDO LAW has successfully defended clients charged with domestic violence throughout Macomb, Oakland, St. Clair and Wayne Counties. We also have a strong record of defending and winning felony assault crimes.
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