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Rochester Domestic Violence Lawyer

If you have been accused of committing an assault or other criminal violation against someone with whom you have a domestic relationship, the situation could become very complicated, very quickly. Penalties may be enhanced, the police may be more inclined to make arrests, and courts may impose protective orders against you.

It is advisable to consult an experienced Rochester domestic violence lawyer if you are facing allegations of violent conduct against someone in your household or with whom you have had a romantic relationship. A criminal lawyer could help prevent actions that might jeopardize your case, such as unintentionally violating the terms of a protection order. A criminal defense attorney could also fight to protect your rights and prevent statements against your interests.

Relationships That Cause a Case to be Treated as Domestic Violence

Actions can be treated as domestic violence under Mich. Comp. Laws §400.1501 if the alleged victim was someone who was considered family or household member such as:

  • Spouses and former spouses
  • Individuals who have dated either currently or in the past
  • Individuals who have had sex together
  • Any people currently or formerly related by marriage
  • Couples who parented a child together
  • Individuals who live together or used to live together
  • Minor children of someone in a family or household relationship

People are “dating” if they engage in frequent, intimate associations with the expectation of “affectional involvement.” Casual social relationships do not qualify.

Definition of Domestic Violence

Causing or trying to cause harm to a family or household member can be treated as domestic violence, whether it is mental or physical. Causing a person to reasonably fear physical or mental harm also constitutes domestic violence. Additionally, using force, duress, or threats to cause a family or household member to engage in sexual activity is considered an act of domestic violence.

Finally, participating in any action against a household or family member that is likely to cause a reasonable person to feel threatened, frightened, harassed, or intimidated also may be treated as domestic violence. Because so many actions may be treated as domestic violence, it is important to collect the best evidence to refute allegations. A domestic violence defense attorney in Rochester could seek and preserve evidence while it is fresh.

Penalties for Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is not penalized as a specific crime. Rather, when certain violent offenses are committed against someone in a family or household relationship, the domestic violence accusations are prosecuted under the statute defining the basic offense such as assault and battery. The penalties may be augmented in domestic violence situations, particularly where there are prior convictions.

Domestic assault is punishable by up to three months in jail and a fine of up to $500. However, if the person charged has been convicted of domestic violence in the past, the potential penalties for the assault increase to one year of imprisonment and a fine of up to $1,000.

In situations where there is an intent to cause physical harm or where serious injury results, the legal penalties and long term ramifications may also increase substantially. A Rochester domestic violence attorney could advocate for alternative penalties in many situations.

Contact an Experienced Rochester Domestic Violence Attorney

When someone has accused you of a domestic violence offense, it is crucial to be vigilant with what you say and do. Words may be taken out of context and used against you. Additionally, it may be easy to violate the terms of a protection order, and that constitutes a separate criminal offense in addition to the underlying domestic violence charge.

Assistance from a knowledgeable Rochester domestic violence lawyer can help prevent costly problems. Moreover, an attorney could fight to protect your rights and help you reach a positive outcome. To learn more about the benefits of working with an experienced domestic violence lawyer, call today.