Is There a Statute of Limitations on Domestic Violence?

The state of Michigan defines domestic violence as:

“A pattern of learned behavior in which one person uses physical, sexual, and emotional abuse to control another person against a household or family member.”

Unlike assault and battery cases, domestic violence cases involve those with special, abusive relationships. 

What are the special relationships defined in domestic abuse cases?

Under Michigan law, domestic violence is an assault or assault and battery by an abusive partner such as a:

  • spouse or former spouse (sometimes called “intimate partner violence”)
  • person residing or having resided in the same household as the victim
  • person having a child in common with the victim
  • person with whom he/she has or has had a dating relationship

What is domestic violence?

According to the Michigan State Police, domestic violence can consist of the following abusive behaviors:

Physical Violence/Physical Abuse

  • Pushed, shoved or kicked
  • Slapped or bitten
  • Strangled
  • Hit or punched
  • Locked out of your home
  • Denied help when ill, injured or pregnant
  • Weapon used against you
  • By physical force, not being allowed to leave
  • Objects thrown at you
  • Abandoned in a dangerous situation

Emotional & Psychological Abuse

  • Threatened harm to you, your family or your pets
  • Beliefs, race, heritage, class, religion, or sexual orientation ridiculed
  • Manipulated with lies and contradictions, controlling behavior
  • Being convinced you are to blame for the abuse
  • Stalked

Sexual Violence

  • Forced to have sex or watch sexual acts
  • Forced to perform sexual acts or have sexual acts performed on you
  • Forced to dress more sexually than you wish
  • Forced to have sex after a physical assault, when you are ill or as a condition of the relationship

Statute of limitations for domestic violence cases in Michigan 

In Michigan, there is a criminal statute of limitations on domestic violence cases. Since most first-time domestic violence offenses are misdemeanors, the statute of limitations expires 6 years after an offense is committed. 

However, an indictment may be filed within 10 years after an offense on a minor is committed. It can also be filed by the alleged victim’s 21st birthday (whichever is later) for the following crimes:

What protections are available for victims?

The alleged victim can file for the following legal protections against the accused, such as:

  • Domestic Relationship Personal Protection Order (PPO)
  • Nondomestic Stalking PPO
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While having a PPO against you is not a criminal charge on its own and does not show up on your criminal record, it can affect your freedom in numerous ways. Learn more about the different types of PPOs and violations here.

How does Michigan law classify domestic violence?

Although other states have various degrees of domestic violence, Michigan is not one of them. Michigan uses two classifications; domestic assault and aggravated domestic assault. Learn more about each charge and the correlating penalties here. 

Hiring a Domestic Violence Attorney 

Domestic violence is a very serious charge to face. Your career, home, livelihood and more is at risk during this type of criminal proceeding. That’s why it is extremely important to hire a criminal defense attorney who specializes in domestic violence cases. If you do not, your future is most certainly on the line.

Contact our team today at (248) 541 – 2600 for a free consultation and case evaluation. 

If this is an emergency, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or 911.