A simple misunderstanding escalated to an argument. Punches were thrown. Police were called. And now you’ve been charged with assault.
Your first reaction may be to try to talk your way out of it. Don’t.
A Michigan assault charge is a serious crime that carries severe fines and penalties if you are convicted. You could be sent to prison and have a felony conviction on your criminal record.
A Michigan criminal defense attorney can help by defending you against charges of assault.
Assault and battery are actually two separate crimes in Michigan.
Assault in Michigan is defined as an attempt to cause physical injury to another person, and any intentional unlawful act or threatening action if the offender appears to have the ability to carry out the act and the act would cause a reasonable person to be in fear of impending violence.
Battery is a completed assault - the intentional infliction of violence or force against another person.
Felonious assault is an assault and battery that is committed with the intent to murder or cause great bodily harm to the victim, when committed with the intent to commit another felony such as robbery or kidnapping, or an assault that involves a dangerous weapon, such as a firearm.
Domestic violence assault is an assault committed against a spouse, former spouse, someone you were or are currently dating, someone with whom you have a child, or someone with whom you reside or have resided.
Penalties for a Michigan assault can vary based on the severity of the injuries to the victim, whether you were in a domestic relationship with the victim, whether a deadly weapon was used, whether this is your first offense, whether you were in the process of committing another crime, and the extent to which you intended to harm the victim.
Assault without a dangerous weapon is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 93 days in jail, a fine of up to $500, or both.
Aggravated assault and battery is a felony, punishable by up to 1 year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, or both. You will also be placed on probation for up to two years, and may be ordered to pay restitution.
If you were in a domestic relationship with the victim, you can be charged with domestic violence assault and battery. A first-time conviction for domestic violence assault or assault and battery is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 93 days in jail, a fine of up to $500, up to 2 years of probation, and restitution.
Conviction for a second charge of domestic violence assault or assault and battery is a felony, punishable by up to 1 year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, or both, plus up to 2 years of probation for up to two years and restitution.
Aggravated domestic assault or assault and battery is a felony for a first conviction, punishable by up to 1 year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, or both, up to two years or probation, plus restitution.
If you have a prior conviction for domestic assault or assault and battery you face up to two years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000, or both, up to 5 years of probation, and restitution.
Assault with intent to murder is a felony, punishable by up to life in prison. If the offender did not intend to murder the victim but only intended to inflict great bodily harm, the penalties include up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.
Assault with intent to maim (such as trying to cut off someone’s ear or put out an eye) is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.
When an assault occurs during the commission of another felony, such as burglary, rape, or kidnapping, the assault charge is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.
If the assault was committed while attempting to steal from the victim and the assailant was unarmed, the crime is punishable by up to up to 15 years in prison. If the assailant was armed with a dangerous weapon, such as a knife, a gun, or brass knuckles, the crime is punishable by up to life in prison.
To be convicted of any criminal charge, the prosecutor must prove every element of the crime, beyond a reasonable doubt.
Based on the unique circumstances of your case, you may have a variety of defenses available.
Defenses to charges of assault or assault and battery include:
If you have been charged with assault, a natural and common reaction is to try to talk yourself out of it.
The best thing you can do immediately after an arrest for assault is to be cooperative, and say nothing.
Tell the police that you are invoking your right to remain silent, and that you want to speak with a lawyer.
If the police ask you about the alleged crime, politely tell them that you do not wish to discuss the matter, and that you want to contact your lawyer.
Spend some time trying to remember what led up to the event. You may want to write this down to help organize your thoughts, and so you remember as many details as possible.
Do not share this list with the police or anyone other than your attorney. In fact, you may wish to write the list in the form of a letter to your attorney by writing “Dear lawyer” or something similar at the top of the paper.
Always remember that an assault charge is different from a conviction. The prosecutor must prove that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Your lawyer will have an opportunity to review the evidence against you and challenge how it was collected. In some cases this can lead to a reduced charge, a plea bargain, or even the case thrown out.
You also have the chance to take your case to trial, if you choose to do so.
If you or someone you care about was charged with a Michigan assault, I can help.
Unlike large criminal defense offices where you may meet with a senior member of the firm only be handed off to a junior associate, I partner with my clients to handle their case from beginning to end.
I will work hard to make sure that you remain a part of the process, and will keep you informed and up to date about the status of your case.
Together, we will work through the process of defending you against assault charges.
I will help by shouldering some of the emotional burden of an assault charge, advising you about your rights, and helping you decide on the best course of action to take. In some cases that might be taking a plea bargain, while in others it might be going to trial.
I understand that facing an assault charge is a difficult, troubling, and stressful time in your life. I will work hard to take care of you as a whole person, and don’t just think of you as a number on a file.
I know that an assault conviction means more than just a fine or possible jail time, and I can advise you on potential collateral consequences of an assault conviction.
I am proud to represent who have been charged with Michigan assault in Ann Arbor, Saline, Pittsfield Township, Chelsea, or Ypsilanti, in Washtenaw, Wayne, Monroe, Lenawee, Hillsdale, Jackson, Ingham, Livingston, and Oakland Counties.
© 2020 Elmen Legal, PLLC — Ann Arbor, Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney