Domestic violence is an extremely serious crime that carries serious consequences. The #MeToo movement and social changes and pressures in today’s climate lead to more domestic violence charges being authorized than before. The courts now approach domestic violence cases and spousal abuse cases much more seriously.
If you have been charged with a domestic violence/spousal abuse case it is extremely important to contact a skilled Michigan criminal defense attorney who understands this area of law and knows how to build a strong defense for your case in today’s climate.
Many people think that domestic violence means actual acts of violence or abuse, like hitting or striking a partner. This is not the case. There are many different types of domestic violence, some that may not even leave a mark on someone else’s body, such as financial abuse or verbal abuse.). Actual acts of violence are certainly the most common area seen charged in regard to domestic violence cases. A domestic violence charge is a very similar charge to assault and battery. Michigan defines an assault as a threat to commit a violent act against another person. A battery is the actual act of committing the act, such as a forceful, violent, or offensive touching. With this definition, by Michigan law, you could be charged for just the threat to commit a violent act against another person, even if you never touched them.
So are the consequences if you are charged with domestic violence? Domestic violence can be charged as either domestic assault or aggravated domestic assault. These charges can either be misdemeanors or felonies. Generally speaking, the classification of misdemeanor or felony depends on the severity of the assault as well as an individual’s prior criminal record.
In domestic violence situations, the victim does not have to want to press charges in order for the prosecutor’s office to take legal action. Even if the victim states that they do not want charges and they want “it all to go away” the ultimate decision of whether to pursue charges is up to the prosecutor’s office.
A first and second-offense domestic violence charge will result in a misdemeanor charge. A first-offense domestic violence charge is punishable by up to 93 days in jail and/or a fine of $500. A second offense domestic violence charge is punishable by up to 1 year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. If an individual is charged with third-offense domestic violence, they will face a felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
The second type of domestic violence assault that we see is known as aggravated domestic assault. This charge can be issued as a misdemeanor or a felony. For a case to be elevated to an aggravated domestic assault the victim must have sustained serious injury that requires medical attention. If it is a first offense aggravated will face a misdemeanor while second offense aggravated domestic assault will face a felony. If a weapon was used in any kind of domestic assault that would automatically elevate the case to a felony offense, even if it was a first time domestic violence situation.
Individuals convicted of domestic violence/spousal abuse not only face the legal consequences that come with a conviction, but they often face long-lasting economic and social struggles as well. Many jobs and housing opportunities will be denied to an individual convicted of domestic violence. Additionally, if there are children involved a conviction could involve child custody rights.
There are many different ways to form a legal defense for your specific case. To learn more about the legal defenses available to domestic violence charges, please read this blog. At Tanis Schultz, PLLC we tailor your defense to your specific situation. We are dedicated to fighting for our client’s rights and futures.