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Kent County Domestic Violence Lawyer

Domestic violence law covers incidents that happen among individuals in a family or household relationship. Since relationships are complicated, it is probably not surprising that laws governing disputes that occur between parties in relationships are complicated as well.

In Kent County, those convicted of prior domestic violence offenses face increasingly severe fines and the potential for extended jail time. It is crucial in a domestic violence case to preserve evidence and avoid taking action that may compound the offense or jeopardize the defense.

So, if you are facing charges in this area, it is advisable to consult with an experienced Kent County domestic violence lawyer as soon as possible to help preserve your rights. A skilled criminal defense attorney can help protect your rights.

Types of Domestic Relationships

The Michigan criminal code lists certain relationships which receive special consideration for the purpose of domestic violence offenses in Kent County. These include:

  • Married couples
  • Divorced couples
  • Individuals currently in a dating relationship
  • Individuals who have dated in the past
  • Couples who have had a child together
  • Individuals who lived together either in the past or present

Under the statute, a “dating relationship” occurs when individuals have “frequent, intimate associations” with the “expectation of affectional involvement.”  The law specifies that those having a “casual relationship” or individuals engaged in ordinary socializing such as friends or business acquaintances will not be considered to be in a dating relationship.

Assault in a Domestic Context

Although domestic violence can refer to any crime in which one member of a domestic relationship uses abuse to control another member, by far the most common offense in the context is domestic assault. Kent County domestic violence laws classify assault in varying degrees of severity with penalties that increase based on the violence of the circumstances and the number of prior convictions.

At the most basic level, a domestic assault involves one member of a relationship or household assaulting or battering another individual in that relationship or household. An individual commits assault by attempting an act of violence or threatening violence against another, if it appears the individual has the ability to carry out the threat. Battery occurs when that attempt at violence results in contact with the body of another.

An act may be considered assault without any injury or even any contact. Accordingly, it is possible for parties in the dispute to commit an assault without even being aware that their conduct is a criminal offense. A simple assault, if committed as a first offense, is treated as a misdemeanor punishable by up to three months imprisonment and a fine of up to $500. For a second conviction, the potential penalty increases to one year in prison and a fine of $1,000, and for subsequent violations, the penalty can include up to five years in prison and a fine of $5,000.

Factors Aggravating Penalties

The use of weapons or infliction of an injury will aggravate the offense and increase the penalties. If no weapon is used and there is no intent to inflict serious harm but serious injury results nonetheless, the offense is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year of imprisonment and a fine of up to $1,000.00, according to Mich. Comp. Laws §750.81a.

The crime becomes a felony if a dangerous weapon is used or if the individual has a prior conviction for domestic assault.

How a Kent County Domestic Violence Attorney Can Help

Law enforcement officials in Kent County treat domestic violence allegations very seriously. If you have been charged with a crime involving domestic violence, you need to seek counsel from an experienced Kent County domestic violence lawyer as soon as possible.

Your attorney can begin providing advice right away that will help your legal team achieve the best possible outcome in your case. Call now to get started.