What are the Domestic Violence Laws in Michigan?

Domestic violence definition and statistics

Domestic violence is a pattern of learned behavior in which one person uses physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse to control another person. According to the Michigan State Police, there were 91,004 reported victims and 105 reported murders related to domestic violence in 2017.

How does Michigan law define domestic violence?

Michigan’s domestic violence law is found at MCL 750.81 within the assault crime statutes. To best understand the crime best known as domestic violence, one must first understand what constitutes assault an assault and battery.

Assault is defined as an intentional illegal act that caused another to reasonably fear an immediate battery.

Assault and Battery is the intentional forceful, violent or offensive touching, however slight or minor, of another, or something closely connected with the person of another.

Domestic violence cases are similar to assault and assault and battery cases. However, they involve individuals with special relationships. Under Michigan law, domestic violence is an assault or assault and battery by a:

  • spouse
  • former spouse
  • person residing or having resided in the same household as the victim
  • person having a child in common with the victim
  • person with whom he/she has or has had a dating relationship

How does Michigan law classify domestic violence?

Although other states have various degrees of domestic violence, Michigan is not one of them. Michigan uses two classifications of domestic violence, domestic assault and aggravated domestic assault.

Domestic assault charges and penalties

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  • Victim need not be injured
  • Criminal convictions for domestic assault may also include court-ordered probation, counseling, community service, etc.

Aggravated Domestic Assault charges and penalties

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  • Victim must receive serious or aggravated injuries (such as injuries requiring immediate medical attention).

Additional Charges

When other facts are present in a domestic violence altercation, the prosecutor can authorize felony charges under Michigan’s assault statues. The most common felony charges usually are:

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Domestic assault cases involve unique evidentiary issues

If an alleged victim of domestic violence revokes their statements regarding the abuse, the case against the accused will not be dismissed. If an individual is charged with domestic assault, prior acts of domestic violence are admissible into evidence. In domestic assault cases, the statements of the victim, or complaint, are admissible.

Bond for domestic violence charges

Domestic assault is a serious charge that requires prompt legal attention. An individual arrested for domestic violence cannot be released from jail on an interim bond set by the jail. The person must be held until he or she can be arraigned, or has an interim bond set by a judge or magistrate. Bond will usually involve numerous conditions, including no contact with the alleged victim and travel restrictions.

How a domestic violence attorney can help you

A domestic violence conviction can lead to other legal problems. For instance, a conviction of domestic assault may lead to issues with immigration and/or child custody. An arrest for assaultive behavior may also result in professional licensing issues. This is especially true for individuals who are employed in the medical field or work with children.

Hiring an experienced attorney who understands Michigan’s domestic violence laws is imperative for the future of your career and family.
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