What are the domestic violence laws in Michigan?

Domestic Violence Definition and Statistics

Domestic violence is a pattern of learned behavior in which one person uses physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse to control another person. According to the Michigan State Police, there are approximately 100,000 reported victims and more than 100 murders related to domestic violence every year. This article answers the questions, “what are the domestic violence laws in Michigan?”

Facing domestic violence charges? Do you have a domestic violence conviction you’d like expunged? Unhappy with your current attorney? Request a free consultation now.

Michigan’s Definition of Assault Crimes

Michigan’s domestic violence law is found at MCL 750.81 within the assault crime statutes.

To understand the crime best known as domestic violence, one must first understand what constitutes assault and assault and battery.

  1. Assault is defined as an intentional illegal act that caused another to reasonably fear an immediate battery.
  2. Assault and Battery is the intentional forceful, violent or offensive touching, however slight or minor, of another, or something closely connected with the person of another.

Domestic violence cases are similar to assault and assault and battery cases.

However, they involve individuals with special relationships.

Under Michigan law, domestic violence is an assault or assault and battery by a:

  • spouse
  • former spouse
  • 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

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 of domestic violence; domestic assault and aggravated domestic assault.

Domestic Assault Charges and Penalties

The penalties for domestic assault are:

  • 1st Offense: Misdemeanor; 93 days in jail and/or fine up to $500
  • 2nd Offense: Misdemeanor; 1 year in jail and/or fine up to $1,000
  • 3rd Offense: Felony; 5 years in prison and/or fine up to $5,000

With this charge, the victim doesn’t need to be injured.

Criminal convictions for domestic assault may also include court-ordered probation, counseling, community service, etc.

Aggravated Domestic Assault Charges and Penalties

Aggravated Domestic Violence Assault Charges and Penalties

To be charged with Aggravated Domestic Assault, the victim must receive serious or aggravated injuries (i.e. injuries requiring immediate medical attention).

Additional Charges

When other facts are present in a domestic violence altercation, the prosecutor can authorize felony charges under Michigan’s assault statues. The most common felony charges usually are:

  • Assault with a dangerous weapon: four years in prison
  • Assault with intent to do great bodily harm (GBH): 10 years in prison
  • Assault by strangulation or suffocation: 10 years in prison

Domestic Assault Cases Involve Unique Evidentiary Issues

If an alleged victim of domestic violence revokes their statements regarding the abuse, the case against the accused will not be dismissed.

If an individual is charged with domestic assault, prior acts of domestic violence are admissible into evidence.

In domestic assault cases, the statements of the victim, or complaint, are admissible.

Bond for Domestic Violence Charges

Domestic assault is a serious charge that requires prompt legal attention.

An individual arrested for domestic violence cannot be released from jail on an interim bond set by the jail.

The person must be held until he or she can be arraigned, or has an interim bond set by a judge or magistrate. Bond will usually involve numerous conditions, including no contact with the alleged victim and travel restrictions.

How a Domestic Violence Attorney Can Help You

A domestic violence conviction can lead to other legal problems.

For instance, a conviction of domestic assault may lead to issues with immigration and/or child custody.

An arrest for assaultive behavior may also result in professional licensing issues. This is especially true for individuals who are employed in the medical field or work with children.

Facing domestic violence charges? Unhappy with your current attorney? Request a free consultation now.