The charge of domestic violence is serious and can carry a stigma with it that will affect the accused for the rest of their life. Individuals being prosecuted for domestic violence need to understand the severity of their case, what they have done to be charged, and that they are strongly advised to retain the immediate help of a Michigan lawyer to assist them in their defense.
Domestic violence is a crime that can occur among all ages, races, genders, and social classes, whether the people in question are spouses or former spouses, domestic partners living together or apart, a dating or separated couple, or parents and children. There are a number of offenses that fall in the domestic violence category. These include physical or sexual assault, battery, false imprisonment, emotional abuse, stalking, intimidation, jealousy, possessiveness, controlling behavior, forced isolation, and economic abuse.
For those who have been charged with domestic violence, immediate action and an aggressive defense are necessary to protect their rights. Even less serious domestic violence offenses come with the possibility of severe penalties as judges have a tremendous amount of discretion when determining the punishment in a domestic violence case. The only choice is to retain the services of an experienced Michigan criminal defense attorney who has compassion for the situation, extensive background defending domestic violence cases, and is determined to achieve the best possible results. Proper counsel may be able to defeat the charges entirely or minimize the punishment received.
In the state of Michigan, once an individual has been charged with domestic violence or domestic assault, they cannot simply walk away from the situation if the alleged victim decides they want to drop the charges. Only the prosecuting attorney has the authority to drop domestic violence charges against an individual. Oftentimes, the prosecutor will not dismiss the case because of the severity and seriousness of the crime. The desire by the alleged victim to drop the charges is often discounted because it is assumed that the victim fears a criminal trial will put them at risk for violence or abuse in the future by the accused.
An experienced criminal defense attorney is needed to aggressively defend the individual charged with domestic violence, keep the charges off of their record, and keep the accused out of jail. Anyone who is arrested for domestic assault in Michigan should know that jail time is routinely sought by the prosecuting lawyer, even on a first offense for domestic violence.
Domestic violence is one of the most falsely reported crimes with various situations leading to false accusations and arrest. Only an experienced criminal defense lawyer who understands the intricacies of Michigan domestic violence laws can find the strategies to possibly prevent a conviction in a criminal trial, negotiate a plea bargain, or seek a dismissal in the case of a false claim. The right defense attorney will understand the strengths and weaknesses of each case and be able to provide the greatest defense possible in a domestic violence charge.
For first-time domestic violence charges, it may be possible for the defense attorney to negotiate an agreement that ensures there will be no conviction on the record of the accused. If, however, a trial becomes necessary, or if this is not a first-time domestic violence charge, the accused can expect that the case will be more harshly prosecuted. Oftentimes, the accused is not the only person in the situation who has unclean hands. But it is only in working with an experienced criminal trial lawyer, providing them with most accurate version of the story, and nailing down the facts that will insure that the case will be aggressively defended in court using the best possible strategies.
It is critical to preserve all possible evidence in criminal trials for domestic violence cases before that information is destroyed. This can include 911 tapes, police dispatch tapes, or eye-witness statements. One small piece of evidence that discredits the accuser or sheds light on an inconsistency can mean the difference between a conviction and a dismissal for the accused.
A criminal defense attorney will work closely with the accused to document all critical details and ensure that necessary, pertinent evidence be preserved and made available for the trial. A qualified Michigan domestic violence lawyer has the knowledge of the court system, relationships with judges and prosecutors, and a great understanding of what it takes to preserve crucial evidence, prepare a successful case, and protect the rights of the accused.
There are two types of domestic violence classifications in Michigan: domestic assault or aggravated domestic assault. In the former, there is no injury necessary to press charges; to qualify for the latter charge, the victim must receive a serious injury requiring medical attention.
In a domestic assault, a first or second conviction is considered a misdemeanor and is punishable by jail time and/or a fine. A third conviction will be classified as a felony, punishable by up to two years in prison and/or a fine.
In aggravated domestic assault, a first conviction is considered a misdemeanor while a second conviction is classified as a felony. Both are punishable by jail time and/or a fine.
Any conviction in a Michigan domestic violence case may result in serious penalties and is likely to come with a probation sentence of anywhere from up to two years to five years. Some judges may require anger management counseling, but all judges can impose a variety of penalties including attendance at AA, alcohol or drug testing, or community service. Working with a criminal defense attorney who is familiar with the Michigan courts and judges can help to lessen the punishment for one who is accused of domestic violence.
A “no-contact” provision can be imposed on the accused during a pending criminal trial for a domestic violence charge. This bond condition means that a defendant cannot personally, or via a third party, contact, call, or write to the alleged victim – or any related parties deemed as “no contact” by the judge – in any way, shape, or form for the duration of the criminal case.
This provision is a common condition of a bond for defendants who have been charged with domestic violence. It protects the alleged victim if the defendant is released from jail while the charge is pending. Any violation of this bond condition could result in the judge revoking the bond, in which case the defendant would remain in jail until the trial is complete.
A no-contact provision can also be imposed during sentencing.