Domestic violence charges are no joke.

In the state of Michigan, a domestic violence charge is a charge of assault and/or battery committed by an individual against a spouse, former spouse, dating partner, co-parent, or a current or former household member.

Domestic violence lawyer assisting client

This individual could face a misdemeanor or felony charge depending on their domestic violence conviction record:

  • No prior convictions – a misdemeanor punishable by a $500.00 fine and/or up to 93 days in prison.
  • One prior conviction – a misdemeanor punishable by a $1000.00 fine and/or up to 1 year in prison.
  • Two or more prior convictions – a felony punishable by a $5000.00 fine and/or up to 5 years in prison.

3 Ways an Attorney Can Help with Domestic Violence Charges

If you have been charged with domestic violence in Michigan, only a prosecutor can drop the charges. However, if the prosecutor has strong evidence against you, it is unlikely that they will. Therefore, your defense needs an experienced domestic violence lawyer.

An experienced lawyer will advocate on your behalf to:

  • Minimize or dismiss your domestic violence charges
  • Get your no-contact order lifted
  • Pursue your rights under Michigan’s diversion program

1. Minimize or Dismiss Your Domestic Violence Charges

If your case is eligible, a domestic violence lawyer can reduce or dismiss your charges through the following options:

Charge Dismissal

A domestic violence attorney can get your charges dismissed by convincing a prosecutor that their evidence would not prove your guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

For example, if your attorney finds physical evidence that is inconsistent with an alleged victim’s statement, this would discredit the victim and make it difficult for the prosecutor to meet their burden.

Plea Bargain Negotiations

An attorney can negotiate a plea bargain on your behalf. Two frequently used plea negotiations are a charge bargain and a sentence agreement. Your attorney could offer the prosecutor a charge bargain, which would require you to plead guilty in exchange for reduced charges. A sentence agreement, on the other hand, would require you to plead guilty in exchange for a lighter sentence.

The decision to accept a plea bargain is entirely up to you as the defendant. However, an attorney can negotiate the best deal with the prosecutor and help you make an informed decision.

Trial Representation

At trial, a prosecutor must prove the elements required under Michigan’s domestic violence laws to secure a guilty verdict:

  • The defendant assaulted the alleged victim.
  • The defendant intended to harm the alleged victim physically.
  • The defendant and the alleged victim have a relationship.
  • Whether the defendant has a history of domestic violence.

Your attorney’s goal is to convince the jury that the prosecutor has not proven all the elements and therefore, has not met the required burden of proof. Successful representation would lead to you receiving a “not guilty” verdict.

2. Get Your No-Contact Order Lifted

In Michigan, a no-contact order – not to be confused with a restraining order – is a condition of release on bond, requiring a defendant to have no contact with the alleged victim.

The word, “contact” is applied broadly, preventing a defendant from contacting an alleged victim in person or even electronically. It also applies to third-party contact, so the defendant’s friend could not contact the alleged victim on their behalf.

A domestic violence lawyer could file a motion with an appeals court to review and modify your no-contact order. If the motion is successful, this order would be lifted.

3. Pursue Your Rights Under Michigan’s Diversion Program

An attorney can get your charges dismissed under Michigan’s diversion program if your case meets the requirements outlined in MCL 769.4a:

  • This is your first domestic violence offense.
  • You have a personal relationship with the victim.
  • You are willing to plead guilty for this offense.
  • The prosecutor consents to dismissal after consulting with the victim.

If your case fulfills these requirements, the court will dismiss it and wipe the domestic violence charges from your record.

The Law Offices Of Barton Morris Can Help You

Do you need help with your domestic violence case in Metro Detroit? We have over 20 years of experience and have handled dozens of domestic violence cases. Our lawyers have helped numerous clients by getting their charges reduced or dismissed, and we want to help you, too.

To speak with an experienced domestic violence attorney in Michigan, call (248) 541-2600 or schedule a free consultation online. You can also check out our domestic violence resources for domestic violence hotlines, contacts for counseling, and other important information.

READ  Domestic Violence Resources
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