To answer a few questions from our previous blog from we will be discussing Domestic Violence and Assault and Battery matters.
The first question is how to protect your parental/custody rights if you have charges pending against you for Domestic Violence or Assault and Battery.
Often, parties involved in a domestic violence or assault and battery case often have children in common. Just because you have been charged with a crime does not mean that you automatically lose your parental rights, custody rights, or visitation rights! However, being charged with domestic violence or assault and battery and a resulting conviction may negatively impact you and your parental or custody rights.
Oftentimes, you can still see your children and exercise your parenting time/rights, sans a court order otherwise. However, you may have to facilitate this through a third party or at a different location than your residence, due to the no-contact order.
At Tanis Schultz PLLC, we have knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense attorneys as well as family law attorneys. Therefore, we will be able to help you every step of the way and answer your questions about the criminal charge as well as any parenting time effects.
The next question we saw often was understanding the difference between pleading to a reduced charge, pleading to 769.4a, or going to trial.
As we previously discussed, understanding your rights and the direction your case is going is extremely important to successfully defend against a domestic violence or assault and battery charge. If your case gets dismissed, you will not have to worry about a trial or a plea. Outside of dismissal, you will have to determine whether to plead guilty or go to trial. In most cases (not all though) first-time offenders may be offered a plea deal to either a reduced charge or a plea under Michigan’s Spousal Abuse Act (MCL 769.4a). Under MCL 769.4a, with the consent of the victim and prosecutor, a person is placed on probation for generally 12 months or more and required to complete probationary terms, such as counseling, batterers intervention classes, drug/alcohol treatment, and/or other conditions the Judge may put into place.
So you may be wondering, what is the benefit of a plea under the Michigan Spousal Abuse Act? The benefit of a pela under this act is that the plea will not be placed on your criminal record after you have successfully completed your probationary term. This means that the case will be dismissed after successful probation. However, you must understand that you are required to plead guilty before the Judge, and it is never advisable to plead guilty if you are, in fact, innocent.
However, you also must understand that a trial, jury, or by the judge, is a specific fact-finding process where the prosecutor has the burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are indeed guilty of the charged crime. At a trial, witnesses, including the alleged victim, would testify before a jury or judge regarding the evidence, facts, and statements, about what happened during the alleged assault. The judge or jury then deliberate on the evidence presented and determine a verdict – guilty or not guilty.
It is extremely important to have a very open and honest conversation with your attorney about your trial rights and plea options to help you make the absolute best decision and gain the best outcome for your case. We pride ourselves on our communication with our clients and we will go through every fact and scenario and how it applies to your case, including the good and the bad. We are on your side and we fight for you and for your rights.