In Michigan, domestic violence (DV) charges carry very serious legal, criminal and social consequences and penalties. In today’s society, accusers are actively encouraged to come forward to press charges, sometimes with little evidence of wrongdoing.
Our courts are also becoming more open to hearing cases with often shaky evidence than they ever have before. This atmosphere has resulted in an increased likelihood that innocent individuals will be caught in a spiderweb of wrongful or improper domestic violence charges, as well as other related legal matters such as restraining orders.
If you or someone you know is being charged with DV in Michigan, contact us and talk to an experienced domestic violence lawyer today.
Domestic Violence Charges
In order for charges of domestic violence to be brought against the accused, allegations must be brought forth by a “victim”. This victim must either have lived with, been married to or otherwise had a “dating relationship” with the accused. This is formally defined according to the Michigan Penal Code MCL 750.81(2) as,
“his or her spouse or former spouse, an individual with whom he or she has or has had a dating relationship, an individual with whom he or she has had a child in common, or a resident or former resident of his or her household.” (THE MICHIGAN PENAL CODE Act 328 of 1931).
These charges can also be brought forth regardless of whether or not the victim and the accused are currently living together or still in an intimate relationship. This means that charges of domestic violence can be brought forth from past relationships. However, in Michigan the statute of limitations for domestic violence is 6 years.
Charges of domestic violence in Michigan are classified on two levels – Domestic Violence and Aggravated Domestic Violence. These cases are usually treated more seriously and face harsher punishments than otherwise similar assault and battery cases.
As mentioned previously, what differentiates charges of domestic violence according to the state is whether or not the victim and the accused were or are in a dating relationship, as opposed to friends, acquaintances, or otherwise. The punishments for these charges vary depending on the case and typically range from a 93 day misdemeanor to a 5 or more year felony.
Domestic violence is differentiated from Aggravated Domestic Violence based on the amount of physical harm to the victim caused by the accused. Generally speaking, charges of domestic violence will be elevated to aggravated domestic violence if the victim suffers serious bodily injury.
This would be an injury that results in disfigurement, hospitalization, or physical impairment. Aggravated domestic violence carries with it a minimum of a 5 year felony, which can be increased if the accused has a previous criminal record.
While domestic violence charges carry harsh penalties in Michigan, there are other problems that can arise in addition to these – even if the accused is not convicted of criminal charges. As an example, a victim can use allegations of domestic violence to obtain a restraining order which can cause compilations such as losing your right to own a firearm.
Also, these allegations can be used as leverage in a divorce case in favor of the victim. It is also possible these allegations can be used as the basis to have the accused ejected from their family residence if they are currently cohabiting.
This spiderweb of legal troubles that can arise from domestic violence charges and allegations requires the skill of an experienced domestic violence lawyer to ensure that the accused receives the justice they deserve.