To be assault, there must be an intent to cause physical harm that accompanies the action.
If the defendant lacked intent, the prosecution cannot legally prove a domestic violence charge in Michigan.
For example, if the defendant accidentally slipped on an icy sidewalk and fell into the alleged victim, causing the alleged victim to fall and break their wrist, the defendant didn’t have the requisite intent to commit assault.
Likewise, a passenger injured in an auto accident while the defendant was driving isn’t the victim of an assault.
However, if the defendant deliberately swerved into traffic to cause a crash, the driver assaulted the passenger.
Circumstances: The events leading to the alleged assault.
Statements: Statements by the defendant and the alleged victim before and during the alleged assault.
History: Prior incidents between the defendant and the alleged victim can help infer intent.
3. Special Circumstances
The difference between ordinary assault and domestic violence is the existence of a relationship between the victim and the defendant.
Specifically, Michigan domestic violence laws require the defendant and alleged victim to be:
Spouses or ex-spouses.
In a dating relationship.
Parents of a child.
Current or former roommates.
If prosecutors cannot prove one of these relationships, it cannot prove domestic violence.
Another special circumstance that exists in Michigan domestic violence laws is the enhancement of penalties for repeat offenders.
For a first offense, a defendant convicted of domestic violence can be sentenced to jail up to 93 days and fined up to $500.
However, if prosecutors can prove the defendant has previously been convicted of a domestic violence charge in Michigan or another state, it can request:
2nd offense for domestic violence: Up to one year in jail and $1,000 fine.
3rd offense for domestic violence (or more): Up to 5 years in jail and $5,000 fine.
Role of a Michigan Domestic Violence Attorney
An attorney experienced in defending against criminal charges, like domestic violence, ensures your rights are protected and forces the prosecution to prove all the elements of its case.
If a prosecutor lacks the legal proof to support a domestic violence charge, a domestic violence attorney can push the prosecution to drop the charges, persuade the judge to dismiss the charges, or convince a jury to return a “not guilty” verdict.
Attorney Morris is trial lawyer who has been providing high-quality legal representation in the areas of state and federal criminal defense for more than 20 years. He’s known for his trial preparation by fellow attorneys, judges and clients alike. As a trial attorney, he’s dedicated to attaining justice in every case, and is always prepared to successfully take on complex legal issues. Barton and his law firm pride themselves on obtaining results for their clients that other attorneys cannot.
Not only does Barton Morris have extensive experience, he also engages in continuing legal education to provide the highest quality legal services. Barton has received specialized scientific training through the American Chemical Society, and is the only forensic lawyer-scientist in Michigan. He attended the prestigious Trial Lawyers College and serves on its Alumni Association Board of Directors. Barton Morris is also a board member of several distinguished legal associations including the Michigan Association of OWI Attorneys, and the DUI Defense Lawyer’s Association Justice Foundation. He’s also an active member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys and has graduated from their National Criminal Defense Trial College in Macon, Georgia.
Barton Morris is consistently chosen as a Top Lawyer of Metro Detroit and for DUI/OWI and criminal defense by DBusiness Magazine and Hour Magazine. He has also been chosen as a Super Lawyer in Criminal Defense.