Domestic violence is an assault crime that can have a big impact on your life. Not only will you have a violent crime on your record, it could impact your job, future career, and custody of your children. A family judge may even grant your spouse exclusive use of the marital home during the divorce. Just being charged can bring an avalanche of immediate consequences such as the judge entering a no-contact order stating that you cannot have any form of contact, including third party, with the complaining witness even if you have children together. The judge could also order that you not be in possession of any firearms as a pretrial condition. Most judges and prosecutors make these cases a high priority and things can get serious very quickly. There could be other charges arising from the incident such as felonious assault, interfering with electronic communications, and assault with intent to commit great bodily harm less than murder.
Under MCL 750.81, domestic violence originates from one of the following relationships:
- spouses (present or former)
- dating relationship
- individuals with a child-in-common
- residents of the same household
Elements of the Crime
Domestic violence is when an assault or battery occurs in one of the above mentioned relationships. Michigan law separates it into two categories: domestic violence and aggravated domestic violence.
This is just a simple assault or battery that does not require injury or proof of any injury.
1st Offense: Defendant faces up to 93 days in jail and $500 in fines
2nd Offense: Defendant faces up to one year in jail and $1,000 in fines
3rd Offense: Defendant faces up to two years in prison and $2,500 in fines
Aggravated Domestic Violence
This is an assault or battery that causes a serious injury requiring medical attention. It is not required that that victim seek medical attention, only that the injury was severe enough that it would require medical attention.
1st Offense: Defendant faces up to one year in jail and $1,000 in fines
2nd Offense: Defendant faces up to two years in prison and $2,500 in fines
New Strangulation Law
In 2012 the legislatures amended MCL 750.84 (Assault with Intent to do Great Bodily Harm Less than Murder) to include assault by strangulation or suffocation. Strangulation is defined as “intentionally impeding normal breathing or circulation of the blood by applying pressure on the throat or neck or by blocking the nose or mouth of another person.” It is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and $5,000 fines. The new law went into effect April 1, 2013. Defendants charged with domestic violence can also be charged with Great Bodily Harm Less than Murder or Assault by Strangulation because the elements are different. Not only do these greatly increase the severity of the charges, but it gives the prosecutor an extra bargaining chip when discussing plea negotiations.
In the next article, I will discuss Pretrial Release conditions such as a no-contact order, deciding whether or not to go to trial, defenses, and deferred sentencing options.
If you have been charged with domestic violence, you need to be represented by an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect your rights and ensure a good outcome. Contact Austin Legal Services, PLC today at (517) 614-1983 to speak to a Michigan domestic violence defense lawyer today.
Representing clients on domestic violence charges throughout Michigan in the counties of Ingham, Eaton, Barry, Clinton, Jackson, Shiawassee, Gratiot, Livingston, Washtenaw, Kent, Calhoun in the cities of Lansing, East Lansing, Mason, Haslett, Okemos, Eaton Rapids, Hastings, St. Johns, Bath, Ithaca, Alma, Jackson, Corunna, Durand, Brighton, Howell, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek.