Michigan Assault Charges and Laws
In Michigan, there are many different assault crimes. When presented with a police report and warrant request, the reviewing prosecutors pick which specific assault charge to bring based on their belief about the facts and circumstances of the case. Often, prosecutors choose the most serious crime possible and charge a defendant with that. Regardless of the specific assault charge, prosecutors and judges take these accusations seriously, and that is why having an experienced defense attorney is a necessity.
First, let’s start with detailing the differences between domestic assault and non-domestic assault. Domestic assault situations arise when the defendant and victim share a domestic relationship; these types of relationships include current/former spouse, current/former boyfriend or girlfriend, current/former roommate, and parent of a child in common. When a domestic relationship is not present between the defendant and victim, the defendant will be charged with a form of non-domestic assault. This page will detail the various non-domestic assault charges in Michigan.
Definition of Assault
An assault and a battery are different acts, but they are charged as the crime of Assault and Battery (“A and B”) in Michigan. In Michigan law and elsewhere, a battery is a forceful, violent, or offensive touching of a person or something closely-connected with the person. A defendant can be charged with assault if the defendant attempts to commit a battery on the victim or if the defendant does an illegal act that causes the victim to reasonably fear an imminent battery, while at the same time intending to commit a battery upon the victim or intending to make the victim reasonably fear an imminent battery. So, essentially, a battery requires contact but an assault does not.
Here are some of the most common types of non-domestic assault charges in Michigan:
The basic assault crime is often referred to as “simple assault” in Michigan. If a person assaults or assaults and batters another person, they could be facing a misdemeanor charge, punishable by up to 93 days in jail, a $500 fine, or both.
In many instances, it is possible to avoid jail time even when convicted of this crime. If convicted, it is helpful to have an attorney who can help prepare you for your role at a pre-sentence probation interview and for the sentencing hearing.
By definition, an aggravated assault is battery with an aggravated injury. However, aggravated assault is still a misdemeanor offense, and therefore this charge does not involve the use of weapons or the intent to commit murder or inflict great bodily harm less than murder. Aggravated assault is punishable by up to 1 year in jail, a fine of $1,000, or both.
Having an attorney by your side on an aggravated assault case would be very beneficial. Not only will an experienced attorney know exactly what to expect in court, but they can work to achieve a favorable result.
To be charged with felonious assault in Michigan, the defendant must be accused of assaulting another person with a dangerous weapon, including a gun, revolver, pistol, knife, iron bar, club brass knuckles, and more. In our practice, we have seen cases involving any number of objects used as a weapon. In addition to those just mentioned, we have seen beer bottles, mugs, nails, automobiles, ash trays, and many other objects. Unlike with more serious assault charges, a defendant charged with felonious assault is not required to have the intent to commit murder or inflict great bodily harm less than murder. Felonious assault is a felony, punishable by up to 4 years in prison, a $2,000 fine, or both.
If felonious assault is alleged to have occurred in a weapon free school zone, the possible penalties include not only up to 4 years in prison, but a higher $6,000 fine and up to 150 hours of community service, as well.
It is important to keep in mind that any firearm used during the commission of a felony can result in felony firearm charges. Convictions on a felony firearm charge will result in a two year mandatory minimum prison sentence.
As is the case with all felonies, being sentenced to prison time is a possibility, so the need for good legal representation should be obvious.
Assault with Intent to do Great Bodily Harm Less Than Murder
This crime is often referred to as “Assault GBH,” for “great bodily harm.” A person who assaults another person while intending to do great bodily harm—but not murder—could be charged with this crime. This is a felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison or a fine of up to $5,000.
Clearly, the maximum penalties for this type of assault are severe. Defendants often face this charge because of its severity. In other words, prosecutors are not satisfied with the 4 year felonious assault penalty will over-reach and over-charge this crime. Having an attorney who can recognize over-charging is critical.
Assault with Intent to Commit Murder
Assaulting another person with the intent to commit murder is a felony in Michigan. This crime is punishable by up to life in prison. As with “Assault GBH” charges, the critical factor that increases the severity is the alleged intent of the defendant; here, it is the intent to murder. As you can guess, a person who actually committed an assault with a deadly weapon or felonious assault could easily be charged with GBH or assault with intent to murder based upon what a prosecutor believes the defendant was thinking at the time of the event.
This presents special challenges for the criminal defense attorney and the prosecutor alike. Defendants are often hesitant to put their fate in the hands of a jury or judge charged with deciding what the defendant was thinking about the possibility of killing or causing great bodily harm. For those people who have been falsely accused, or for those who are over-charged, it can be an extremely frightening and frustrating situation. Any time such a serious penalty is possible, it is important to have the best possible attorney with you at the counsel table. These are not the type of cases that an inexperienced or inexpensive attorney should be handling.
Other types of assault: The assault crimes detailed above are some of the more common assault charges. However, there are many more Michigan assault crimes. Here is a list of some of the others:
• Assaulting, battering, resisting, obstructing, or opposing a police officer performing a duty often called “Resisting and Obstructing or “R and O”
• Assaulting or battering an employee or contractor of public utility company
• Assault with intent to maim
• Assault with intent to commit any other type of felony
• Assault with intent to rob and steal, unarmed
• Assault with intent to rob and steal, armed
“The Defense of Self-Defense”
One of the most effective ways to defend any type of assault charge is claiming self-defense. If the issue is properly raised by defense counsel, the prosecutor bears the additional burden of proving that a defendant did not act in self-defense. In cases where the client has acted out of fear for their own safety, or the safety of others, it is important to have an attorney who knows how to present a strong argument for self-defense.
Your assault attorneys: At Kronzek & Cronkright, we believe that an aggressive assault defense lawyer is critical. In most assault cases, the prosecution relies heavily on the testimony of witnesses in order to preserve its case. Typically, witnesses are agitated, excited, angry, or intoxicated at the time of the alleged attack. In the hands of a skilled defense attorney, the testimony of such witnesses begins to fall apart.
Our experienced attorneys have many, many years of combined experience representing clients charged with state or federal crimes. We know the ins and outs of assault defense, and have achieved favorable results for our past clients. We take the defense of each assault case seriously, whether it is a simple assault charge or an assault with intent to commit murder charge. Let us help you.
Contact us about your legal matter today! Call us at 1-866-766-5245.