Facing criminal charges of any type is something that can produce a range of emotions, including confusion, embarrassment, and fear. The situation is no different when the accusations relate to an alleged assault of another individual.
Though it is true that many people use the terms “assault” and “battery” to describe essentially the same thing, it is important to note that they are in fact distinct criminal acts under Michigan law. The range of penalties applicable to those found guilty of these crimes can vary from relatively minor in nature, to increasingly severe, depending on the surrounding circumstances.
For these reasons, anyone facing these sorts of charges needs to enlist the aid of a Michigan assault lawyer with a comprehensive understanding of the relevant statutes and a history of securing positive outcomes for clients. Because those found guilty of assault crimes may face jail time, substantial fines, job losses, and other potentially crippling consequences of conviction, the help of a seasoned Michigan criminal lawyer is indispensable.
Simply speaking, assault represents an intentional action placing another individual in fear of imminent harmful or unwanted contact. No actual physical contact is necessary for an assault to occur, provided that the victim did in fact fear immediate harm due to the intentional act of the accused.
Battery, by contrast, does require actual physical contact made without the consent of the affected individual, which also results in bodily harm or personal offense. In essence, any type of unwelcome touching could be characterized as battery, even if no discernible injury was suffered.
According to Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.81 (1), conviction of a simple assault or assault combined with battery without any other prior convictions or enhancements is a misdemeanor offense punishable by a jail term not longer than 93 days and/or a fine not exceeding $500.
However, pursuant to Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.81(4) those who have previously been convicted of committing these crimes against a spouse, former spouse, former dating partner, co-parent, resident of his or her own household, or someone known to be pregnant at the time can face upwards of one year’s imprisonment and/or a fine of no more than $1,000 making it imperative an assault attorney in Michigan is contacted.
Michigan law provides far more serious potential penalties, ranging from a few years in prison to life terms, for individuals convicted of several different enhanced categories of assault, including:
There can be no doubt that punishments for assault and battery crimes in Michigan can be extremely onerous, making it crucial for those facing charges to find an aggressive legal advocate who will fight to protect their rights. Viable defense strategies, including that of self defense, do exist for defendants in cases of this nature, but the key is to begin marshaling evidence and arguments as soon as possible after allegations arise.
Reputable assault lawyers in Michigan always endeavor to have charges reduced or even dismissed. However, there are circumstances in which these outcomes are sadly unattainable. In such situations, a skilled attorney will put strong plea negotiation tactics to work in an effort to secure the most favorable resolution and the most significant mitigation of penalties possible in light of the facts of a given case.
Assault and battery convictions can and do cause an avalanche of negative effects which can follow individuals and their loved ones for decades. Thus, when it comes to establishing a vigorous defense to charges of this nature, there really is no time to spare. To learn about the many ways in which a Michigan assault lawyer can help protect your freedom and your good name, contact our firm today.