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Assault on an Officer
Assault on an officer charges are taken incredibly seriously in Michigan. These crimes are charged more harshly than standard assault. An assault or a battery on an officer is much broader than a standard charge, and that is where people can face significant penalties.
If you have been charged with assault and are seeking legal representation, consult with a knowledgeable Michigan assault on an officer lawyer as soon as possible. An experienced assault attorney in Michigan can build a defense to help minimize or dismiss any potential penalties you may be facing.Obstructing Law Enforcement
If a person opposes or obstructs an officer, it does not mean that a person has done anything to intimidate the officer, has hit the officer, or anything like that. However, if a person simply obstructs an officer's command, it does fall more toward assault. An obstruction includes the use of threat, physical interference, or force.
For example, if an officer ordered a person to stop walking and the person continued to walk, that would be potentially obstructing the officer. That act can get a person a felony charge from what normally may have just been the officer talking about something else. However, now a person is facing a felony charge because they failed to do what the officer had asked. To combat such a charge, an individual should not hesitate before contacting a Michigan assault on an officer lawyer.Defining an Officer
When defining an officer in Michigan, there are multiple statutes that are very similar that describe police officers doing their duties. These statutes cover people like medical examiners, township treasurers, judges, magistrates, probation officers, parole officers, prosecutors, city attorneys, court employees, court officers, and other duly authorized people serving or attending to serve next to any process, rule, or order made or issued by a lawful authority.
The definition of an officer includes many other people beyond police officers that an individual may not normally think of. There is another section that talks about medical personnel and how they relate to an assault on an officer charge. The more general statute defining an officer includes police officers, but also college or university police officers, conversation officers, sheriffs and deputy sheriffs, and the firefighters and emergency medical service personnel.
Sometimes, people may not realize that if they are obstructing emergency medical service personnel, they can also be charged with obstruction of an officer. There are some details within other statutes that state that an individual does not have to be assaulting anybody to be obstructing them. However, if they are not going along with things when they are being asked to, they can end up with a much more serious offense. These are all felony cases. These charges can be combatted using a Michigan assault on an officer lawyer.Elements Prosecutors Need to Prove
In addition to the standard elements of proving the assault or the obstruction, they also must prove that the officer was discharging their duties and that the defendant had reason to know that so that it would be reasonable for them to know. Then there is the degree of injury which also must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.Severity of the Charge
Assault on an officer charges are treated much more seriously than standard assault charges. The lowest level charge of obstructing an officer is considered a felony. Even when there is no injury whatsoever, the charge is considered a felony and is punishable by up to two years in prison.
If the assault was against a regular person, not a police officer, an individual would only face a penalty of 93 days in jail, at worst.
In order to be charged with assault on an officer, the person must know or have reason to know that the person is performing their duties. If a person is an officer in uniform and telling a person to do something, then that should give the person a reason to know that that is someone they are supposed to obey and comply with their orders.
If the person does not comply, then they can be subject to these other issues. Being in uniform is a factor that can be very helpful for determining whether the accused person should have known that the individual was performing their duties.Penalties for Assault on an Officer
The penalties start with the injury involved. The more serious the injury, the greater the potential penalty. The charge starts at the two-year felony level and goes up from there. If there is an injury that requires medical attention, like the aggravated assault and the non-police officer side of things, that is up to a four-year felony, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.
If there is a serious impairment of a bodily function that results from the assault or battery, it would become a 15-year felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or both. If it ends up causing death, it would be a 20-year felony, up to 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $20,000, or both.Examples of an Offense
The most frequent alteration that results in an assault on an officer charge is when someone is being arrested for another purpose, like drunk driving, and the person did not comply with all of the commands of the officer.
Perhaps the individual struggled when being arrested and this charge was tacked on. Normally, this charge would have been a misdemeanor. However, because of the additional charge of assault on an officer, the crime would be classified as a felony due to the assault, resistance, and obstruction of the officer.
This charge is broader than just assaultive crimes, so that can cause somebody to have an assaultive offense on their record when they did not ever assault anybody. They may just have been unruly and did not comply with the officer's commands.Benefit of a Michigan Assault on an Officer Attorney
Due to the complexity of such a charge, it is important to consult with an experienced assault on an officer attorney in Michigan as soon as possible. A knowledgeable lawyer can assist a person in best understanding the separate elements of the charge, and how to best proceed legally with a robust defense.