Assault crimes are among the crimes treated very seriously in Michigan. Persons charged with such offenses risk to face from 93 days to life imprisonment. There are a number of laws regarding assault crimes in Michigan. When accused of such an offense it is advisable to get yourself a Michigan criminal defense attorney or an assault defense attorney to help you disentangle yourself from the case against you. There are a number of different assault crimes that are defined by Michigan Law.
The Michigan Aggravated Assault Statute MCL 750.81 dictates that simple battery and assault is illegal and persons accused of the same can be sentenced with a jail term of 93 days or a fine of $500. When charged with this kind of offense you will need to seek the help of an assault defense attorney to prepare for the sentence hearing and probation interview.
According to the Michigan Aggravated Assault Statute: MCL 750.81a, aggravated assault is considered a misdemeanor. You are accused of aggravated assault when you cause an aggravated injury through battery. However, this charge does not involve the use of a weapon. The accused should also have not intended to commit bodily harm less than murder or murder. This charge is punishable with one year jail term or a fine of $1,000 or both. It is advisable to get a good Michigan criminal defense attorney who has a lot of experience in handling such cases in court. An experienced attorney will be able to advise you on how the case may play out in court and what defenses may be available.
Felonious assault/assault with a dangerous weapon
According to MCL 750.82 when you are accused of assaulting someone with the use of a knife, gun, club brass knuckles, beer bottles, nails or any other weapon without intending to cause the person great bodily harm or death, then you are guilty of felonious assault. These charges are punishable by a maximum of 4 years in prison or a fine of up to $2000.
If the evidence presented in court indicates that the crime was committed in a weapon-free zone, then the accused may have to pay a higher fine of $6000 together with the 4 year prison term. The accused may also have to do 150 hours of community service as an additional penalty. It is not uncommon for someone charged with felonious assault to be accused of other crimes at the same time, such as CCW or felony firearm. An assault defense attorney will help you understand your case in entirety and prepare you for any eventualities so that you are not caught off guard.
Assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder
Commonly referred to as “Great Bodily Harm” or “Assault GBH”, this crime entails assaulting another person with the intention to cause them great bodily harm but not to murder. MCL 750.84, defines great bodily harm as internal injury or impairment of a bodily function, poisoning, serious burns, multiple puncture wounds or severe cuts. These charges are very serious and the accused faces up to 10 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $5,000.
Assault GBH is a very serious charge. Occasionally, prosecutors overcharge people and use a charge like this to create extra bargaining leverage. A highly qualified Michigan criminal defense attorney will be able to determine whether you have been overcharged and can help to reduce the potential penalty.
Assault with the intent to commit murder
Assault with Intent to Commit Murder or “AWIM” is found at MCL 750.83. This act is punishable with the highest penalty of up to life imprisonment. What makes this kind of assault different is the intention of the accused. Unlike in Assault GBH, here the accused commits the act with the specific intention to murder the victim. It is very easy for someone previously accused of assault GBH to find themselves facing this charges. The prosecutor can use the evidence at hand to increase the charges previously made against you by proving that your intentions were not to just cause bodily harm but to murder the victim.
It is therefore of grave importance that people facing charges of assault get a very good assault defense attorney to handle their case. It is very frightening to watch your life on a balance of either facing life imprisonment or 10 years in prison yet you are innocent of the charges presented.
Assault with intent to rob and steal
As provided in MCL 750.88 and 750.89, this crime is conducted when assault is committed with the intent to rob and steal. The penalty for these charges will depend on whether the accused was in possession of a weapon upon committing the crime in question. If the accused did not possess a weapon, then they face punishment of up to 15 years in jail. However, if they committed the crime in possession of a weapon, then they face a potential life sentence.
Assault with intent to maim
According to MCL 750.86, this crime entails assaulting someone with the intent to disfigure them or cut off or disable a limb, member or organ. Specifically indicated under this law is assault that tries to cut off an ear or nose or to put out an eye. This crime attracts a sentence of a maximum of 10 years in prison or a fine of $5000 or both.
Assault or assault and battery against specific victims
Under the law governing assault crimes in Michigan, there are specific penalties when crimes are committed against some special groups of people:
1. Pregnant women
MCL 750.90a and 750.90b stipulate that when assault is committed against a pregnant woman, the person is charged with the intention to cause a stillbirth or miscarriage. Whether those were the intentions of the offender or not, they risk facing life imprisonment. If an offender’s act of assault causes harm to a foetus or embryo, the accused risks facing up to 15 years in prison or a fine of up to $7500 or both. A highly qualified Michigan criminal defense attorney will always help their client to get the most reasonable sentence.
2. Police officer or emergency personnel (Resisting / Opposing)
According to MCL 750.81d, if the victim is a police officer, fire fighter or an emergency medical personnel and the assault occurs while the victim is at work and the offender is familiar with the victim’s employment status, the accused is likely to face either: 2 years in prison, a fine of $2000 or both, 4 years in prison, $5000 or both, 15 years in prison, $10000 fine or both or 20 years with prison, a fine of $20000 or both.
3. Public utility employee
MCL 750.81e stipulates that if the victim is a public utility employee and the offence results in bodily harm while the employee is on duty, then the offender risks 2 years imprisonment, $2000 fine or both. Or a 5 year jail sentence and $5000 fine if the offence results in impairment of bodily functions. An assault defense attorney can find a loophole to defend their client here by claiming the client was not aware of the victim’s employment status and have the charges reduced.
Domestic violence assault
Assault or battery committed against a spouse is referred to as domestic violence. As indicated in MCL 750.81, it also includes assault against someone the accused is dating, living with, has a child with or divorced from. The punishment for domestic violence varies depending on whether the offender has committed the crime previously. First offenders get up to 93 days in prison and or $500 fine. Second time offenders get up to 1 year in jail and or $1000 fine. For those who have committed the crime more than twice previously, they face up to 5 years in prison and or $5000 fine. They may also face restitution or probation.
Those who are accused or who are victims of this kind of crime must get help from a Michigan criminal defense attorney. Especially when handling a case against a spouse, the offender needs to get a lot of advice from an attorney. It is possible to make matters worse or to easily get tricked and compromise evidence. Some victims are also easily coerced or cajoled into dropping charges. A good assault defense attorney understands the dynamics involved in handling such delicate cases and so they offer valuable help.
What happens if I’m convicted?
After conviction, the offender has various options. An assault defense attorney will help their client know the options they have even after they lose a case. At times it normally is the only option left for the person facing charges if the evidence provided is too solid and there is no other way out. Some of these options include:
Restitution entails the offender paying the victim a certain amount of money to reimburse the amount spent on counseling or medical attention as a result of the offense committed. It also covers other financial losses related to the offense charged.
Probation requires the offender to regularly report to a probation officer and carryout some community service. During this probation period, the offender has to meet certain terms and conditions. If he fails he is re-sentenced and made to serve jail term. Someone who is convicted of a felony and who is sentenced to prison will not be on probation. He may however have to report to a parole officer for a period of time after his release.
Pre-trial and pleas option
For those who have been wrongfully accused, there is a way out. With the help of an assault defense attorney you can conduct an investigation and present evidence to prove your innocence. The attorney negotiates with the prosecutor to find a way out. Your attorney may also provide solid grounds as to why your case should not go to trial and have it dismissed. If a pretrial resolution is not possible, a jury will hear the case and decide whether or not you’re guilty.
The Michigan Self Defense Act and how it applies to assault charges
Self defense is a common defense used by people accused of assault in Michigan. In this case the assault defense attorney will explain that their client simply committed the action out of fear of his own safety or the safety of others around. The prosecutor will then have to prove to the jury that the accused actually meant harm to the victim and wasn’t acting in self defense. The Michigan Self Defense Act 780.972 states that it is your legal right to use deadly force against another individual if you were not in the process of committing a crime and:
• You honestly and reasonably deem the act was necessary and in self-defense in order to stop imminent death or extensive bodily harm to yourself or another individual.
• You reasonably and honestly believe the action was necessary to prevent sexual assault
• You believe it was necessary to stop assault or battery against you or other persons
With the help of your assault defense attorney you will thoroughly analyze your case and come up with a defense that works for you best based on the evidence presented. Any defense raised in court has to be backed by strong evidence otherwise a jury may not believe it.
If you have been accused of any form of assault in Michigan and would like to discuss your case with one of our criminal defense attorneys, call 616-773-2945 to schedule an in-person consultation.