Michigan Domestic Violence
If you've been charged with Michigan domestic violence this doesn't make you a criminal or a bad person. I see clients on a daily basis who are in a healthy relationship or marriage, with absolutely no history of domestic violence or abuse. It's quite common that a good person will get themselves in a bad situation, which results in the police being called, and the client being charged with a Michigan domestic violence.
Click here to read about my proactive approach to domestic violence in Michigan
Michigan domestic violence is a reality, and it touches every age, gender and socioeconomic group. If you've been charged with domestic violence in Michigan, it’s important that you have an advocate in your corner from the very beginning. Michigan domestic violence affects every aspect of your life, and it can carry life altering consequences.
As your attorney, we will gather all of the evidence in your case, and get a private investigator involved if necessary. We will build your defense, and our first goal will be an outright dismissal or a not guilty verdict at trial. While building up your defenses, I will also engage in negotiations with the prosecuting attorney, to develop various backup plans. It may also be possible to have a conversation with the judge in your case, and get an indication of what your possible sentence might be. All of this will be very important in deciding the path of your case.
To be found guilty of domestic violence in Michigan, it must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that you assaulted or battered one of the following:
A spouse, a former spouse, a person which you share a child in common, a resident or former resident of your household or a person which you have or had a dating relationship.
A battery is a forceful, violent, or offensive touching of a person or something closely connected with him or her. The touching must have been intended by the defendant, that is, not accidental, and it must have been against the victim’s will.
An assault is an attempt to commit a battery or an act that would cause a reasonable person to fear or apprehend an immediate battery. The defendant must have intended either to commit a battery or to make the victim reasonably fear an immediate battery. An assault cannot happen by accident. At the time of an assault, the defendant must have had the ability to commit a battery, or must have appeared to have the ability, or must have thought he/she had the ability.
As a domestic violence first offender, you may also be eligible to a plea guilty as a first offender, but have the case dismissed after a period of time. This plea bargain falls under MCL 769.4A, and is only available to Michigan domestic violence first time offenders.
This type of plea bargain requires consent by the prosecutor and the victim, and will require an admission of guilt or a plea of no-contest. Your admission of guilt is withheld, and proceedings are deferred for a period of probation, which the court will determine. During this probationary period, you may undergo anger management, counseling and/or drug and alcohol testing. The requirements of your probation are determined by the court, but your attorney can work with the court and prosecutor on formulating the requirements. If all requirements are completed, your case is dismissed.
One thing that makes a domestic violence trial unique is that the prosecution is entitled to introduce additional evidence that you as the charged party have committed domestic violence in the past. This could stem from another case, an arrest or even events that were never reported to the police. The prosecution can have the victim in the present case testify to past events and/or victims from your past. With Michigan domestic violence comes the possibility of manipulation and ulterior motives. You need an advocate that is going to cross-exam the witnesses presented by the prosecution, and a game plan to present your own witnesses. Even with a checkered past, you are entitled to a fair trial.
In Michigan domestic violence cases, the prosecution can also bring in statements of the victim made to the police about your case; this is unique to domestic violence cases. This exception for domestic violence is important to the prosecution, because the victim for a number of reasons may or may not testify to the complete story or even recant, but this exception allows the police to testify as to what the victim stated at an earlier date. This essentially allows the prosecution to have a backup plan in case the victim cannot provide the testimony needed for a conviction.
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