A Michigan chef has been accused of domestic violence by at least 7 different women, the Detroit News has reported. The Macomb County prosecuting attorney has charged him in at least one case involving his former wife.
According to Michigan domestic violence lawyers at the Barone Defense Firm, the term “domestic violence” refers to a specific kind of assault and/or battery; one where the accused has or had a domestic relationship or dating relationship of some kind with the alleged victim. Specifically, the applicable Michigan Compiled Laws section 750.81 provides that a domestic violence occurs when an individual assaults or assaults and batters any of the following:
- Someone to whom they are or were married,
- Someone who lives or lived in their home,
- Someone with whom they have or had a dating relationship,
- Someone with whom they have or had a child in common.
The law defines “dating relationship” as a person with whom they have “intimate” associations. A dating relationship is characterized by the “expectation” of “affectional involvement.”
To be an assault, the Chef need only have put his former wife in fear of an unwanted touching. According to the standard jury instructions, a battery occurs when there is a forceful, violent, or offensive touching. The person doesn’t necessarily need to be touched provided something closely associated with the person is touched. Also, the touching must be intentional and unwanted. According to the report, the former wife indicated that the Chef became verbally abusive toward her. Verbal abuse is neither assault nor is it battery, so this statement, in and of itself, would likely be insufficient to sustain the charges. Presumably, the prosecutor based the domestic violence charges on something other than the alleged verbal abuse.
The report also suggests that many other women have come forward with complaints of domestic violence against the Chef. For any of these to be brought as separate charges, the law require first that the Chef have had at least a dating relationship with the woman and/or lived with her for some period. There must also be something other than verbal abuse. Here are some clear examples of assault or battery:
- throwing a vase toward a person’s head (assault)
- grabbing a person by the shoulders and pushing them into a door (battery)
- pulling a knife on someone (assault)
- breaking a laptop in half (battery if it’s “closely associated with person)
- trying to push someone out of a moving car (both assault and battery).
If the Chef is convicted of a single domestic violence with no prior record, then he will have committed a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 93 days or a fine of not more than $500.00, or both. If he has a prior domestic assault then possible incrimination is increased to 1 year, and if he has two or more prior offenses, then he could be charged and convicted of a felony punishable by up to five years in prison.
If you have been or think you might be charged with domestic assault, then let one of the Michigan domestic violence attorneys at the Barone Defense Firm review your case. During the consultation you will be able to determine if your case meets the requirements of the law, and what defenses you may be able to raise.