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Defending Domestic Violence Charges
Many of the instances of criminal allegations of assault or battery occur each year between two people can also be classified as domestic violence criminal charges. This simply means that the parties to the incident are connected through either blood, a shared child relationship, or having lived together in the past (whether now separated, divorced, or presently live in the same dwelling).
Domestic Violence Allegations in Michigan. Charges alleging domestic violence crimes are serious matters with Michigan law enforcement, since every statute pertaining to a violation of the Michigan domestic violence statute involves potential jail time, with up to 93 days for a first offender with little or no proof of injury to the complaining victim.
Michigan has laws criminalizing domestic violence, with 91,004 victims and 105 reported murders in 2017. Punishment for these crimes can be severe - up to 93 days in jail and a $500 fine - even for those who are 1st offenders at the lowest-level misdemeanors.
In 1996, the federal Gun Control Act banned anyone with a domestic violence order or misdemeanor domestic violence conviction from owning firearms. All states include this in their TPO/TRO statutes. If presented with facts from a police officer who investigates, or eyewitnesses, a court may issue a protective order if the judge believes the respondent may commit certain acts.
To be considered a violation of "domestic violence laws," the relationship must involve a spouse, ex-spouse, dating partner, ex-dating partner, or someone with whom you have a child in common, or if presently/previously living together.
Acts of violence include both physical touching or hitting and other threatening behavior. The complaining person can be male or female and need not have a single bruise to be able to seek protection from a criminal court judge. A mere accusation of domestic violence could trigger the imposition of restrictive restraining orders and a conviction can make these orders permanent.
If you are facing these charges, you must be prepared to defend yourself at every opportunity. However, defending domestic violence charges in Michigan can be complex, so you may be well-served by seeking help from a qualified domestic violence lawyer.How Does Michigan State Law Define Domestic Violence?
The classic example of a domestic violence charge in Michigan stems from a person physically, verbally, or emotionally assaulting their spouse. Under Michigan Penal Code §750.81, an assault on a household member is a misdemeanor for a first offense. While this is certainly an enforceable definition in its own right, the state's specific definition of domestic violence is much broader.
According to Michigan's Domestic Violence Act §400.1501, domestic violence is any act committed against a household member that causes or seeks to cause physical harm, places that household member in fear of physical or mental harm, or would cause a reasonable person to be in fear or feel harassed. The same statute defines a household member (that can be a victim of domestic violence) as being any of the following:
- A spouse or former spouse
- Any person that has ever lived with the defendant
- A former or current dating partner
- A former or current sexual partner
- Any people related by marriage
- A person with whom an individual has a child in common
- A minor child
No matter the type of incident that leads to a Michigan domestic violence charge, defendants must be prepared to present a defense. The most common strategy in these cases is self-defense since all individuals have the right to respond with a reasonable level of force when under physical attack. If applicable, an attorney could help clients argue in court that an alleged incident of domestic abuse was simply a situation where they only sought to protect themselves.
Another potential defense to a domestic violence charge is that the alleged victim of the incident was not a household member under the definition provided by law. While this defense may not result in the charges being completely dismissed, many of the enhanced penalties that can accompany a domestic violence charge could be ruled out, as well as some prohibitive protective orders. An attorney with experience defendingConsulting a Michigan Domestic Violence Attorney
Any criminal allegation is a serious matter, but when these charges involve some sort of violence or threats against a household member, the potential penalties become much harsher. Not only could you be sent to jail or ordered to pay heavy fines, but you could also be subjected to restrictive restraining orders that affect where you can live, who you can socialize with, and even your parenting rights.
Defending domestic violence charges in Michigan can be tricky, so let an experienced attorney help you do it effectively. Every stage of a case is critical, so do not delay in getting the help that you need. Call today to schedule a consultation.
What do you have to lose, when the free legal advice with our litigation team’s criminal lawyers near me can answer many tough questions? Few criminal law practice areas are more complex and confusing than domestic violence cases.