Assault is a serious crime in itself, according to Michigan law. However, assaulting a law enforcement officer is considered a highly serious charge that is complex to fight in court. These crimes are charged far more harshly than a standard assault crime.
This charge, under MCL 750.81d, describes not only assault and battery, but also resisting, obstructing or opposing a “person performing duty.” Additionally, “obstruct” includes:
(7)(a) … the use or threatened use of physical interference or force or a knowing failure to comply with a lawful command.
For instance, if a police officer ordered you to roll down your window in a traffic stop and you ignored them, that would potentially be obstructing the offer. That act itself just took what could’ve been a simple mistake to a class C felony.
Penalties for assaulting an officer
An individual who assaults, batters, wounds, resists, obstructs, opposes, or endangers a person who the individual knows or has reason to know is performing his or her duties is guilty of a felony punishable:
- Up to 2 years in prison, or a
- fine up to $2,000, or both.
Slight physical contact falls under this charge. Furthermore, it could mean shoving or even poking an officer. However, the penalties severely increase if injury is inflicted. If a person causes bodily injury requiring medical attention/care to an officer, that person is guilty of a felony punishable:
- Up to 4 years in prison, or a
- up to $5,000 fine, or both
If serious impairment of bodily function is caused, harsher penalties will be given. Your time in prison will increase to up to 15 years or you may be ordered to pay a fine up to $10,000, or both.
If an individual inflicts injuries causing death to the officer, the individual is guilty of a felony punishable:
- Up to 20 years in prison, or a
- fine up to $20,000, or both
Definition of an officer
Police officers are not the only ones who fall under a “person performing duty.” According to this statute, this includes the following:
- A conservation officer of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) or the Department of Environmental Quality
- A sheriff or deputy sheriff
- A constable
- A Secret Service or Department of Justice agent
- A firefighter
- Any emergency medical service personnel
- An individual engaged in a search and rescue operation as that term is defined in section 50c
The most common altercation that results in assaulting an officer charge is when someone is pulled over for drunk driving or reckless driving and does not “comply” with the officer’s commands.
It gets tricky to defend this charge when there is bodily injury or emergency responder testimony. Regardless, the dash cam and body cam video is extremely important in preparing a solid strategy to fight this offense. That is why you need a skilled assault lawyer who understands the evidence and is not afraid to ask the hard questions.
Contact an assault attorney today
Since this offense is highly complex, it is vital to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. A skilled lawyer will not advise you to plead guilty on the get-go. Rather, they will help navigate the court process and prepare a foolproof defense to fight this charge.
Sydney Fairman is the Social Media Marketing Specialist for the Law Offices of Barton Morris and Cannabis Legal Group. While at Central Michigan University, Sydney was an active member of Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority and held various internships, leadership and part-time positions. These places of employment include the City of Mt. Pleasant, Grand Central Magazine, Mackinac State Historic Parks and WCMU Public Media (PBS). She graduated in May 2018 with a Bachelors Degree in Applied Arts in Integrative Public Relations and minor in Journalism. Sydney comes to us after her first position post-college with Gale, a Cengage Company as a Marketing Associate. She possesses a passion for writing, marketing and graphic design and showcases this on the Law Offices of Barton Morris’ website/social media channels, as well as Cannabis Legal Group’s website/social media channels.