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Grand Rapids Assault Attorney
At Tanis Schultz we understand the stress you are under if you have been charged with assault. We want you to know that your situation isn't hopeless and we want to help. Serving all of West Michigan and having 50 years of combined experience, we are the experienced criminal attorneys you are looking for, do not give up hope.
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Different Types of Assault Charges
Michigan has different categories of assault charges. Below are a few of the most common assault charges:
- Assault or Assault and Battery, MCL 750.81(1)
- Domestic Violence, MCL 750.81(2)
- Aggravated Assault, MCL 750.81a
- Felonious Assault, MCL 750.82
- Assault with Intent to Do Great Bodily Harm (Assault GBH), MCL 750.84
What do each of these charges mean?
‘Assault’ or ‘Assault and Battery’
The most common assault charge. It is punishable by up to 93 days in jail and a fine of up to $500. Assault is defined by Michigan law as an attempt to cause physical injury to another person and any intentional unlawful act or threatening action if the offender appears to have the ability to carry out the act and the act would cause a reasonable person to be in fear of impending violence. An assault cannot happen by accident. A battery is a completed assault – the intentional infliction of force or violence against another person. An Assault and Battery charge is punishable by up to 93 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.
The main difference with a domestic violence charge is that the assault or battery was committed against a spouse or former spouse, an individual with whom the defendant has or had a dating relationship, an individual with whom the defendant has or had a child in common, or a resident or former resident of the same household. MCL 750.81(2). A first offense domestic violence charge is a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to 93 days in jail and a fine of up to $500. A second offense domestic violence charge is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. A third offense domestic violence charge is a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of $5,000.
A more serious form of Assault and Battery. Aggravated Assault is punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a $1,000 fine. The difference between assault and battery and aggravated assault is that an aggravated assault requires that the defendant inflict serious or aggravated injury. A serious or aggravated injury is a physical injury that requires immediate medical treatment or that causes disfigurement, impairment of health, or impairment of a part of the body. M Crim JI 17.6.
Also commonly referred to as assault with a dangerous weapon. Felonious Assault is punishable by up to 4 years imprisonment, community service for not more than 150 hours, and a fine of not more than $6,000. This type of assault involves a gun, revolver, pistol, knife, or other dangerous weapon. A dangerous weapon is defined as any object that is used in a way that is likely to cause serious physical injury or death. In order to prove this charge, the State must prove:
- That the defendant committed a battery or acted in a way that would cause a reasonable person to fear or apprehend an immediate battery (battery being the forceful or violent touching of the person or something closely connected with the person).
- That the defendant intended to either injury or make the individual reasonably fear an immediate battery.
- That at the time, the defendant had the ability to commit a battery, appeared to have the ability, or thought they had the ability.
- That the defendant committed the assault with a dangerous weapon. (Any object that is used in a way that is likely to cause serious physical injury or death).
Some objects, like guns or bombs, are dangerous because they are designed to be dangerous. However, other objects are designed for peaceful purposes but may be used as a dangerous weapon. The way the object was used or was intended to be used in an assault determines whether or not it is a dangerous weapon.
Assault With Intent to do Great Bodily Harm
A felony punishable by 10 years in prison and a fine of not more than $5,000. MCL 750.84. To prove this charge, the State must prove:
- That the defendant tried to physically injure another person.
- That at the time of the assault, the defendant had the ability to cause an injury, or at least believed that they had the ability.
- That the defendant intended to cause great bodily harm. Actual injury is not necessary, but if there was an injury, you may consider it as evidence in deciding whether the defendant intended to cause great bodily harm. Great bodily harm is defined as any physical injury that could seriously harm the health or function of the body.
What defenses are available for a Michigan Assault Charge?
No two cases are the same. Each case is different and should be treated as such. Each case requires time and dedication to determine what the best defense is for your particular case.
Common defenses for assault or assault and battery charges include:
- That you acted in self defense
- Defense of others – that you were defending someone else
- Intent – that you did not pose the requisite intent to commit a crime
- Ability – that you did not have the ability to carry out the threat
- That the victim’s fear was not reasonable (e.g. you threatened them with a flower)
- You were provoked
- The threat of harm was not imminent (e.g. I will hurt you in 5 years)
- The threats were vague and did not include an overt act
- The threats were conditional
- The allegations were false
- There is a dispute as to whether your conduct was actually threatening
The best pieces of advice anyone can give you if you have been charged with an assault crime are:
- Be cooperative but do not talk to the police. You will not talk yourself out of charges, but you may hurt your case.
- Immediately inform the police you are invoking your right to remain silent and your right to an attorney. Tell the police that you want to speak with a lawyer.
If you or someone you care about is facing an assault charge in Grand Rapids our attorneys can help. We work directly with our clients to ensure they remain part of the process, keep them informed and up to date about their case, and work through defending you together. We are dedicated to our clients and obtaining excellent results.
“You can tell she really knows her stuff and will help you with all she’s got to offer every case, every time!” - M.H.
“Without this office's expert advice, professionalism, attention to detail, and preparation, I would still be disabled without benefits.” - A.
“They are clearly dedicated to their clients. I would highly recommend them!” - B.L.
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- Our attorneys have over 50 years of combined experience handling various areas of the law with precision.
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