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Defending Domestic Violence Charges in Michigan

Many instances of criminal allegations that occur between two people could also be classified as domestic violence. This simply means that the parties to the incident are connected through either blood, a shared child, or have lived together.

Charges alleging domestic violence are serious matters not only from a criminal standpoint but also from a familial perspective. A mere accusation of domestic violence could trigger the imposition of restrictive restraining orders and a conviction can make these orders permanent.

If you are facing these charges, you must be prepared to defend yourself at every opportunity. However, defending domestic violence charges in Michigan can be complex, so you may be well-served by seeking help from a qualified domestic violence lawyer.

How Does State Law Define Domestic Violence?

The classic example of a domestic violence charge in Michigan stems from a person physically, verbally, or emotionally assaulting their spouse. Under Michigan Penal Code §750.81, an assault on a household member is a misdemeanor for a first offense. While this is certainly an enforceable definition in its own right, the state’s specific definition of domestic violence is much broader.

According to Michigan’s Domestic Violence Act §400.1501, domestic violence is any act committed against a household member that causes or seeks to cause physical harm, places that household member in fear of physical or mental harm, or would cause a reasonable person to be in fear or feel harassed. The same statute defines a household member as being any of the following:

  • A spouse or former spouse
  • Any person that has ever lived with the defendant
  • A former or current dating partner
  • A former or current sexual partner
  • Any people related by marriage
  • A person with whom an individual has a child in common
  • A minor child

Common Defenses to Domestic Violence Charges

No matter the type of incident that leads to a Michigan domestic violence charge, defendants must be prepared to present a defense. The most common strategy in these cases is self-defense, since all individuals have the right to respond with a reasonable level of force when under physical attack. If applicable, an attorney could help clients argue in court that an alleged incident of domestic abuse was simply a situation where they only sought to protect themselves.

Another potential defense to a domestic violence charge is that the alleged victim of the incident was not a household member under the definition provided by law. While this defense may not result in the charges being completely dismissed, many of the enhanced penalties that can accompany a domestic violence charge could be ruled out, as well as some prohibitive protective orders. An attorney with experience defending

Consulting a Michigan Domestic Violence Attorney

Any criminal allegation is a serious matter, but when these charges involve some sort of violence or threats against a household member, the potential penalties become much harsher. Not only could you be sent to jail or ordered to pay heavy fines, you could be subjected to restrictive restraining orders that affect where you can live, who you can socialize with, and even your parenting rights.

Defending domestic violence charges in Michigan can be tricky, so let an experienced attorney help you do it effectively. Every stage of a case is critical, so do not delay in getting the help that you need. Call today to schedule a consultation.