Assault and battery are usually charged together although they are technically separate things under Michigan law. A battery is violent or offensive touching of another person or something closely related to that person. An assault is either an attempted battery or placing someone in fear of an imminent battery. Simply put, battery involves contact while assault does not. The penalties vary depending upon the amount of harm (if any) that was caused, if any weapons were used, who the victim is, and if the defendant has any prior assault convictions.
An assault does not require touching. You can be convicted of assault if the other person thought you were trying to touch them, even if you never intended to.
Simple Assault and Battery
Known as simple assault or assault and battery, the penalty is up to 93 days in jail and/or $500 in fines. An aggravated assault (one that causes injury, but less than great bodily harm) is punishable up to one year in jail and/or $1,000 in fines.
Domestic violence is the same as assault and battery with the added element of the victim and defendant having a “domestic relationship.” The penalties are the same as simple assault—93 days in jail. The penalties for a second offense domestic violence conviction is up to one year in jail and/or $1,000 in fines, and the penalty for a third conviction or more of domestic violence is up to five years in prison and/or $5,000 in fines.
While the penalties for simple assault may not seem too severe, you face the stigma of having a violent or assaultive conviction on your record. That can make getting work, housing, or scholarships very difficult. It will also prevent you from obtaining a concealed pistol license (cpl).
Aggravated Assault and Felony Charges
The charges and penalties can quickly escalate depending on a number of factors. If an injury occurred, even just mild bruising or a scrape, that is enough to elevate simple assault and battery to aggravated assault. If a more serious injury occurred or if a weapon was involved, you could be facing felonious assault (assault with a dangerous weapon) or assault with intent to commit great bodily harm less than murder (GBH). If a firearm was used during the attack, you may be looking at felony firearm charges which carries a mandatory two-year prison sentence, regardless of what your sentencing guidelines are.
There are also heightened penalties for certain victims such as CPS workers, police (resisting and obstructing), and public utility company employees. On top of jail or prison, you may be ordered to pay restitution, which means you would have to reimburse the victim for cost of medical treatment, counseling, or any property damage that occurred during the assault.
In assault and battery or domestic violence cases, prosecutors frequently overcharge defendants. A simple assault can easily turn into a five or 10-year felony. Victims often exaggerate or may even be lying. An experienced domestic assault defense attorney will have experience in cross-examining victims and medical personnel about the events and injury that can discredit their testimony or raise reasonable doubt to a jury. These charges are too serious to go at it alone or to be represented by a general practitioner who doesn’t make his living defending against assault and domestic violence charges.
Deferred Sentencing and Plea Options
If you have no prior assault convictions, you may be eligible for deferred or delayed sentencing under MCL 769.4a. Upon successful completion of probation, you would have no public record of the offense. Other plea options may be available such as disturbing the peace, a minor misdemeanor that may not result in jail time and would not cause you to lose your concealed pistol license. If the prosecutor is unwilling to offer you something acceptable or if you are innocent, you may have to go to trial. An experienced Michigan criminal defense attorney can bring out discrepancies in the prosecution witness’s testimony and raise reasonable doubt, especially when there are no injuries.
If you have been charged with any type of assault and battery or domestic violence offense, call Austin Legal Services, PLC today to speak to a Michigan assault and battery defense lawyer at (517) 614-1983!
Defending assault and battery charges throughout Michigan in the counties of Ingham, Eaton, Clinton, Gratiot, Jackson, Calhoun, Barry, Livingston, Washtenaw, Kent, Shiawassee in the cities of Lansing, East Lansing, Mason, Charlotte, St. Johns, Ithaca, Jackson, Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, Hastings, Brighton, Howell, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, Corunna, Durand.