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Defending Domestic Violence Charges in Grand Rapids

All too often, a simple argument becomes what the law classifies as domestic violence. This broadly-defined crime can encompass the most innocent of actions and result in a criminal conviction that could have extremely negative consequences for your future.

Defending domestic violence charges in Grand Rapids is not always an easy task, which is why you may need an experienced domestic violence lawyer to help you. A skilled defense lawyer could listen to your side of the story and help you build a strong defense.

Domestic Violence Laws in Grand Rapids

Michigan Penal Code Section 750.81 is the statute that defines the crime of domestic violence in the state. Whereas assault is an attempt or threat to injure another person, battery involves actual physical contact with the other person. To constitute domestic violence, however, the assault or battery must involve people who are family members or have a close relationship.

Under state law, an assault or assault with battery involving individuals in any of the following types of relationships can be charged as domestic violence:

  • Present or former spouses
  • Individuals who are or used to be in a dating relationship
  • Individuals who live or used to live in the same household
  • Individuals who have a child together

If the situation at issue does not involve individuals in one of the relationships listed above, the charge may be for assault or assault with battery, but not for domestic violence charges.

Penalties for Domestic Violence Convictions

Under Michigan Penal Code Section 750.81, individuals who commit domestic violence are guilty of a misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 93 days in jail, a $500 fine, or both. If individuals have a previous domestic violence conviction, the charge will still be a misdemeanor, but the potential penalties increase to up to one year in jail, $1,000 fine, or both. Additionally, if individuals have two or more previous domestic violence convictions, the offense becomes a felony, which carries potential penalties of up to five years in jail, a $5,000 fine, or both.

In some cases, there are factors that automatically may result in enhanced penalties. For example, under the same statute, individuals who assault another person without a weapon and inflict serious or aggravated injury on that person, without intending to commit murder or inflict great bodily harm, can face a misdemeanor. The penalties for this offense are up to one-year imprisonment, a fine of not more than $1,000, or both.

Likewise, individuals who assault another person with a dangerous weapon, without intending to commit murder or inflict great bodily harm, can face a felony charge carrying potential penalties of four years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $2,000, or both.

There are additional collateral consequences of domestic violence charges in Grand Rapids, which can stem from bond or probation conditions imposed by the court. These consequences can include a no-contact order between the parties, GPS monitoring, house arrest, counseling or anger management, and a prohibition on possessing any firearms. Because these penalties are so severe, it is critical that an experienced attorney assists in defending domestic violence charges in Grand Rapids.

Defend Against Domestic Violence Charges in Grand Rapids with an Attorney

The stress of Michigan domestic violence charges can be overwhelming, and the consequences of a conviction can be very severe. This is why you need experienced attorneys defending domestic violence charges in Grand Rapids to assist you from the first day that you find yourself charged with domestic violence. Do not hesitate to contact an attorney today to learn about your legal options and rights under the law.