You Were Arrested for Domestic Violence, But That Doesn’t Mean Your Life is Over…

One mistake does not have to ruin your life. You were upset, angry and in the heat of the moment—and you are likely not the only one at fault. To keep domestic assault charges off your record, you need a team of highly specialized lawyers who know Michigan assault laws and who are experts at domestic assault defense. That’s where we come in.

What Can I Expect After Being Arrested for Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence charges tend to be difficult for prosecutors to prove because evidence is based on hearsay, or “she said, he said.” However, these charges still have serious ramifications for the accused:  

  • When an individual is charged with domestic violence, they are usually arrested and may serve jail time. A bond will be set, and if bonded out of jail, a no-contact order will be issued in most cases. A no-contact order will prohibit contact with the victim in the domestic violence case. If the individual has children, it may interfere with their ability to see their children as well.
  • There are other possible employment ramifications. Employers have become less tolerant of those with domestic violence records.

Therefore, you must seek counsel with a defense lawyer immediately!

What Happens After I am Charged with Domestic Violence?

If the accused is charged, they will come before a judge for an arraignment, which is legal speak for a defendant’s first appearance before a judge. The defendant will plea either guilty or not guilty. The judge will then set the bond amount and any other conditions.

If the defendant pleads guilty, and there is a no-contact order for probation, the individual will have to meet the terms and conditions of the probation before the non-contact order is lifted.

Will I Go to Jail?

Jail is always a possibility, and it is our job to convince the judge not to incarcerate our clients. Probation can almost always be expected and may include therapy, community service, anger management classes, drug testing and more. The best way to limit the length and conditions of probation is to be proactive. The more an individual can prove to a judge that they are rehabilitating on their own, the less likely a judge will issue harsher sentencing.

Of course, outcomes vary from case to case and if this isn’t an individual’s first domestic violence offense, convincing a judge of self-rehabilitation will be harder.

This Is Not My First Domestic Violence Offense, What Can I Expect?

Below are the maximum sentencing and penalties a judge can order for first, second and third offenses:

Domestic violence first offense:  is considered a misdemeanor. The maximum possible penalty is up to 93 days in jail, a fine of $500 plus costs and up to two years of probation.

Domestic violence second offense: is considered a misdemeanor. A second offense is punishable by up to a year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000 plus costs and up to two years of probation.

Domestic violence third offense: is considered a felony. A third offense is punishable by up to 5 years in prison, a fine of up to $5,000 and up to five years of probation.

The Difference Between Regular Domestic Assault and Aggravated Domestic Assault

In Michigan, domestic violence is also called domestic assault and domestic crime. Domestic assault occurs between family members, romantic partners, spouses and ex-spouses. Michigan does not recognize “accidental domestic assault,” as the legal definition assumes that the individual has the ability, appeared to have the ability, or thought they had the ability to commit battery.

Assault and battery are not mutually exclusive. Michigan defines assault as intent to commit battery, even if no physical contact was made. Individuals can make a fist, threaten battery, swing at a person but miss, or make any attempt to physically hurt someone and be convicted of assault. Once an individual has made physical contact with another person, battery has been committed. A person who is charged with domestic violence is, by definition, automatically charged with assault. A person who is charged with battery is, by definition, charged also with assault—in order to commit battery, one has to have first committed assault.

Michigan categorizes domestic violence misdemeanors into two categories: Regular Domestic Assault and Aggravated Domestic Assault.

Regular Domestic Assault

This typically involves battery, but the individual can still be charged with domestic assault even when the victim was not physically injured.

Aggravated Domestic Assault

Regular Domestic Assault escalates to Aggravated Domestic Assault when the victim has been injured.   

If a dangerous weapon was used to inflict serious bodily harm to the victim, the individual will be charged with Felonious Assault. This charge is a felony whether or not it is the individual’s first offense. In these cases, individuals can be sentenced to up to four years in prison and be fined up to $2,000.

Can Domestic Assault Charges be Dropped?

No. The victim cannot decide to drop charges. The reason for this is because, legally, an individual is not capable of pressing domestic violence charges—only the Prosecutor can press or drop charges.

Prosecutors will not drop charges, and cannot drop charges, for many reasons. One of the biggest is out of fear and protection for the alleged victim. Battered Women’s Syndrome is the top concern for Prosecutors, because it is believed that an abused woman or person will try to defend their partner and they are not capable of making good decisions about their own welfare.

What If I am Falsely Accused?

Experienced judges know that, more often than not, both parties are at fault. There are also several situations where false domestic violence accusations are common:

  • To gain an advantage in a divorce
  • To gain custody over children
  • Disputes over the possession of a home or other settlements

There must also be evidence of physical injury, but these cases are extremely complicated. The reason is because police are required by Michigan law to make an arrest when domestic violence is reported. Due to the hearsay nature of these cases, it is necessary to find an experienced attorney who can properly defend your case.

At Schwartz Law, we are experts in defending individuals charged with domestic violence. We ensure your rights are protected and work hard to find the best outcome for your case. Call (248) 930-5019 now for a free consultation.