Michigan has many different variations of assault. One of the more common is domestic violence. Domestic violence covers those assaults where there is a domestic relationship between the parties, offender and victim. The domestic relationship includes spouses, those with children in common, those who are or were previously members of the same household, and those who are in or were in a dating relationship with each other. Unlike the average bar-fight between strangers, domestic violence penalties increase with each additional conviction. A first offense DV results in a misdemeanor conviction with a maximum penalty of 93 days in jail. A second offense is a misdemeanor with a maximum of 1 year in jail. Finally, a third or subsequent offense is a felony, punishable by up to five years in prison. If there are three+ total, the penalty can increase even if the first convictions were pleaded down. For example, if an offender is convicted of a first offense and then a subsequent domestic violence 2nd offense is pleaded down to a first offense as well, an additional domestic violence is still a felony-third, even though the offender had only been convicted of a first offense twice. Additionally, domestic violence convictions are more difficult to expunge.
The reasoning behind the stiff and increasing penalties for this particular type of assault are simple: these kinds of domestic relationships are ripe for the long-term abuse of the victim, stemming from the victim’s inability to get out of the relationship for a number of reasons.
There are many defenses available to those charged with domestic violence and sometimes they can be resolved without the offender getting a criminal record, even with a guilty plea.
If you or someone you know has been charged with domestic violence, contact Terry Nolan or Andy Lapres at Nolan Law Offices, PLLC by calling 231-769-2600.