Articles Posted in Domestic Violence

Benefits of Having a Domestic Violence Lawyer

There are many benefits of hiring a domestic violence lawyer immediately upon hearing of being charged or potentially being charged with domestic violence. First, and foremost, a good attorney will give you your best chance at minimizing the consequences of a domestic violence charge. The consequences of a first offense domestic violence charge include a misdemeanor on your permanent record, up to 93 days in jail, up to a $500 fine, probation including drug and alcohol testing, and being banned from purchasing and possessing firearms. A good attorney will request all evidence, look for defenses and procedural issues, explore diversion programs, and try to get the best result, whether through pre-trial negotiations or trial.

Second, there are things that happen when someone is arrested for domestic violence that create very urgent concerns. Many times, the accused lives with the accuser. The court will place immediate conditions on the accused when released. The court will order the accused not to contact the accuser and, if they live together, not to reside in the home with the accuser. Even if the accuser tries not to press charges, this order may stick. An attorney can try to convince the court to lift the no-contact order. The attorney can also ask the court to allow the accused and accuser to live together again, especially if they share children together. If that’s not possible, the attorney can help their client get belongings from the home needed to live a normal life while the no-contact order is in place.

Lastly, in cases in which the evidence is stacked against the accused, the attorney can explore a Michigan domestic violence diversion program. This program requires people to admit guilt and complete counseling and probation. The advantage of going through the program is that the admission of guilt is kept under seal and never put on public record. Therefore, it will never show up on a criminal record and the person would never have to admit on a job application that they’ve been found guilty of domestic violence. Call right away to get in touch with our dedicated legal team.

On April 24, 2020 Governor Whitmer extended Michigan’s shut down order through May 15, 2020.  The Governor’s new Executive Order 2020-59 does contain a modest loosening of the restrictions many business and government offices remain closed. If you were recently charged with a crime in Michigan, but have not yet been to court, it is nevertheless recommended that that you hire an experienced criminal defense trial lawyer as soon as possible. In part this is because unlike some government agencies and even some kinds of courts, Michigan’s criminal courts are still operating during the shutdown, albeit on only a very limited basis.

Because of the danger posed by the virus, particularly at this time when many new infections are occurring, some misdemeanor and felony criminal cases are being rescheduled to later dates when the corona virus dangers have lessened.  But not all criminal cases and more importantly not all kinds of criminal hearing dates are being postponed.  So depending on many different circumstances and factors, criminal cases are still be heard by judges all around Michigan.

While it’s true that some new misdemeanor charges will not move forward in court until district courts re-open, it’s still in your best interest to hire an attorney immediately. If you’re facing a misdemeanor charge, it’s likely that you won’t be arraigned until courts re-open. However, if you’re facing felony charge, you will probably be arraigned before being released and your case will move forward normally.

What Are Some Steps That a Person Can Take to Help Their Domestic Violence Case?

 The three most important steps a person charged with domestic violence can take to help their case are to hire the best attorney, follow court orders, and be proactive.

Let’s talk about hiring the best attorney. You want to look at a few questions to figure out which domestic violence attorney is best for you. Do you feel comfortable talking to the attorney in your consultation? Does the attorney lay out a game plan as to how they’re going to help you? And, does the attorney give you the time you deserve to talk about your case? Remember, the consultation is a sneak peek into what it will be like working with the attorney. Therefore, if the attorney is short with you or isn’t very nice, that’s probably how it will continue through the case. If you aren’t given a specific game plan as to how the attorney is going to solve YOUR specific problems, they will probably take a cookie-cutter approach that doesn’t take your life into consideration, and may not be a good step a person can take to help their domestic violence case. The best attorneys will show a time-intensive, personal approach to your case that will give you comfort that all options for success will be explored.

Now, what are some examples of court orders, otherwise known as bond conditions, that someone charged with domestic violence has to follow throughout a case? They typically include no contact with the accuser (including that the accused cannot stay in the same residence as the accuser), no travel outside the state, and random alcohol or drug testing. Why is it important to follow the court’s orders throughout the case? Well, if you don’t, you could be thrown in jail. Also, if you disobey a court order, the judge and the prosecutor will take note and it could affect the outcome of your case.

Lastly, it’s important, if you want the best result in the case, to be proactive about the situation. We usually recommend that anyone going through a domestic violence charge go through an anger management evaluation with a respected counselor. If alcohol or drugs were involved in the in alleged incident, even if no violence took place, we usually recommend a substance use evaluation. These proactive measures can be used in pre-trial negotiations to convince the prosecutor and judge to agree to a reduced charge and, possibly, to keep the domestic violence charge off the public record. Call now to learn more about your legal options.

How Can I Keep a Domestic Violence Charge Off My Record

Being charged with domestic violence can be frustrating and embarrassing. Convincing a court that a domestic violence charge should be kept off your public criminal record requires the help of an experienced Michigan domestic violence attorney.  One strategy to keep the charge off your criminal record of the accused, but certainly not the only one, could be to use Michigan’s statutory diversion program.

First, it’s important to understand that a domestic violence charge in Michigan is very serious. A first offense is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 93 days in jail, up to a $500 fine, court fees, probation, a permanent criminal record. In addition, anyone convicted of domestic violence is banned by federal law from possessing and purchasing firearms.

After exhausting other legal defenses and plea negotiations, an experienced Michigan domestic violence attorney will often talk to you about the diversion program provided in MCL 769.4a. The main reason most people enter the diversion program is because it becomes the only way to keep the domestic violence charge of their public criminal record.

Domestic Violence is on the rise in Michigan, and many believe this is due in part to Governor Whitmer’s stay-at-home covid-19 lockdown. If you struggle with managing your anger in frustrating situations, especially with others in your home, then Governor Whitmer’s executive order requiring everyone to stay in their homes through April can be an especially difficult and frustrating time.

Michigan isn’t alone in this.  As NPR reported domestic violence has surged across the world during the Covid19 coronavirus pandemic and corresponding quarantines. From the report:

Domestic violence rates have surged in France and South Africa, according to Voice of America. In South Africa, authorities said there were nearly 90,000 reports of violence against women in the first week of a lockdown.

What’s the Difference Between Michigan Domestic Assault and Domestic Violence?

Both domestic violence and domestic assault in Michigan are crimes based on the same law.  In other words, they are two different names for the same crime.  The more common name is domestic violence.  Both crimes are based on section 81 of the Michigan criminal code, found at MCLA § 750.81.

A person, either a man or a woman, can be charged with domestic assault as part of a police investigation resulting from a domestic dispute.  During a heated argument, a neighbor or one of the domestic partners, might call 911 to report the disturbance.  Then, when the police arrive, they are charged with the task of interviewing the various parties and determining what level of intervention is necessary and appropriate.  Sometimes, the police will simply separate the individuals involved for a period of time to allow a cooling down of flared tempers.  Other times, the police will take the person they think is more responsible or more aggressive, into custody.  This person may end up later being charged with domestic assault or domestic violence.

Simply being involved in an argument with another person is not enough to be charged with the crime of domestic violence.  This crime first requires that you be in a domestic relationship with the other person involved, meaning the person assaulted is one of the following:

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