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Domestic Violence Case Dismissed
The charge of domestic violence in Michigan requires an ongoing relationship between the parties, usually something like a dating relationship or a marriage or family relationship. This case involved a husband and a wife, and we were retained after the husband had been charged with assault and battery, also known as domestic violence, pursuant to Michigan Compiled Laws 750.81.
After being retained we researched the details and events leading to the arrest, as well as the mental health history of the "victim" (wife). It became apparent that this charge arose out of existing problems with the marriage, but also that both parties wanted to try to preserve the marriage. Consequently, we referred our client to a counselor for an assessment. We also encouraged his wife to meet with the separately counselor. Our goal was to have both parties enter into marriage counseling together. This was not possible at first because at the arraignment the court ordered that the parties have no contact as a condition of bond. Consequently, we set out to have the no contact provision lifted as soon possible. This was however no easy task because it has been our experience that in the majority of jurisdictions throughout the State of Michigan this bond condition will not be lifted, and if it is, the condition is not lifted until after the case is resolved and the accused is sentenced.
In order to address the no contact provision, allow our client and his wife to attend marital therapy together, and to defend our client/husband, we knew we had to "change the existing narrative" which was that our client was an abusive spouse. To do this, we helped our client obtain letters of support from their families, documented the health struggles of both parties, explained the positive and at times negative impact of various medications taken by the husband, and obtained favorable evaluations from mental health professionals. These materials were assembled and submitted to the prosecutor.
We were successful in having the no-contact provision of the bond lifted and our client and his wife did begin in therapy together. This was helpful to our position in this case, which was well supported by all the documents and evidence we'd collected. Taken as a whole, we demonstrated to the prosecutor and the court that the event leading to the arrest of our client was not an assault and battery as defined by Michigan law. Instead, the event was an unexpected and unfortunate side effects of medication. We were able to show that, contrary to what it appeared to law enforcement and the prosecutor, there actually never was any physical or verbal altercation.
As a result, the prosecutor agreed dismiss the charged outright. There was never a conviction of any kind, no "deferral" under the statute, no court ordered services, nothing. This was a total and unconditional dismissal.