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Domestic Violence

Thinking Man on Couch

Domestic Violence: What to Know

What is the most important thing to know about a Domestic Violence Charge?

MCL 769.4a authorizes a court, without entering a judgment of guilt and with the consent of the accused and of the prosecuting attorney in consultation with the victim, to defer further proceedings in an assault and battery case when an individual who has not been convicted previously of an assaultive crime pleads guilty to, or is found guilty of, assault and battery under MCL 750.81 AND 81A. The victim of the assault must be the offender’s spouse or former spouse, an individual who has a child in common with the offender, an individual who has or has had a dating relationship with the offender, or an individual residing in the same household as the offender. THIS DEFERRAL can be utilized only if the accused has no prior assaultive conviction. For law enforcement, although a judgment of guilt is not entered, the arrest and the disposition by utilization of the deferral statue will appear on the criminal record of the defendant. Prosecutors are reluctant to offer this plea to a defendant if he is not represented. You only get one bite at the apple, if you represent yourself and are not offered 769.4a it makes much more difficult for me to try to get the plea. 

Assaults are serious crimes. When the crime is a domestic assault, the punishments are much stricter.

If you are convicted of Domestic Violence:

Assault and Battery (first offense) = Up to 93 days in jail and $500 in fines
Assault and Battery (second offense) = Up to one year in jail and $1,000 in fines
Assault and Battery (third and subsequent offense) = Up to 2 years in prison and $2,500 in fines
Assault with infliction of serious injury (first offense) = Up to 1 year in jail and $1,000 in fines
Assault with infliction of serious injury (second+) = Up to two years in prison and $2,500 fines

NEW CASE LAW regarding domestic violence (as of January 4, 2011):
In the State of Michigan vs. Stanley Wayne Cameron an appellate court ruled that prior bad acts can come into evidence under MCL 768.27b. 

What does this mean?
It means that if you have been previously charged with domestic violence the prosecutor can bring in the previous victim(s) or previous assaults into evidence at trial.  So a jury will not be convicting someone on an isolated incident but on all incidents that may have occurred making a fair trial near to impossible as the evidence, in my mind, is more prejudicial than probative.  You need my expertise and experience when you go to court to protect your interests. 

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