What are the possible penalties and consequences for domestic violence in Michigan - Am I going to jail?
In Michigan there are two types of misdemeanor domestic violence with different penalties. The most common is domestic assault/violence, which is to assault or batter any person in a domestic relationship with you. The victim need not be injured for the prosecutors to bring a domestic assault charge.
A first offense is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 93 days in jail, up to a $500 fine, or both. A second offense is also a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail, up to a $1,000 fine, or both.
Along with the misdemeanors, you could be charged with a felony if this is your third offense. A third offense is punishable by up to 2 years in prison, up to a $2,500 fine, or both.
The next domestic violence misdemeanor is aggravated domestic assault would result from an assault on someone in a domestic relationship without the use of a weapon. Such an assault would cause a serious or aggravated injury requiring medical attention for the victim. If a weapon was used to cause the injury, that would elevate the crime to felonious assault, a felony regardless of whether it was a first or subsequent offense.
An aggravated assault first offense is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail, a $1,000 fine, or both. A second offense is a felony, punishable by 2 years in prison, a fine of up to $2,500, or both.
Jail and prison are worst case scenarios and not common for first offenses, what is more common is probation from 12 to 24 months with community service, counseling, anger management, a special domestic violence program, fines, costs, alcohol and drug testing etc.
The good news is that my clients avoid many of these sentencing parts because they are proactive from day one, which helps eliminate requirements of probation, including the length, and usually allows my client more flexibility while on probation for travel requests etc.
If I'm put on probation for domestic violence in Michigan, what will be the requirements, and will it be difficult?
Probation is a privilege and not a right. All DV crimes in Michigan carry jail time - either 93 days or one year as a maximum sentence. The first step is avoiding going to jail for domestic violence; if we're able to avoid that, then we focus on probation.
In Michigan, a person can go on probation for up to 24 months for a misdemeanor, which may require counseling, community service, education, alcohol/drug testing and a number of other requirements. Probation is not easy. Failure to comply with your requirements and you will be showcaused by the court for failure to comply or go straight to a probation violation hearing. If you are found to be in violation of your probation, there is a good chance you will be sent to jail for at least a short period of time, if not the full maximum amount.
The key to domestic violence probation is to get the shortest possible term with the least amount of requirements; essentially defusing mines before they go off, and shorten the path to the finish line. All of my clients charged with DV in Michigan go on my proactive program from day, which allows us to shed months off probation and knock out requirements. Do a lot in 30-60 days and save yourself 3 to 12 months.
The difference between being proactive and being on probation is the "requirements" I have you do are purely voluntary, and I cannot send you to jail; failure to follow my directions simply leads to my disappointment in you and an opportunity lost. Failure to follow the court's instructions and you're going to jail. Doesn't it make a lot of sense to proactive? Easier to learn to ride a bike on training wheels and shortern the learning process than to try to jump on a bike cold turkey and crash and burn.
Will I go to jail for domestic violence in Michigan? What's the maximum penalty and how realistic is it that I'll be locked up for a DV charge?
If you're charged with domestic violence in Michigan, you've already spent a night in jail, and you'd agree that you do not want to go back. Assuming you've posted bail, there is a good chance that you will not be returning for the case. Most DV cases in Michigan for first time offenders do not result in jail sentences. If you have priors for domestic violence, or violate your bond or your eventual probation then yes you could go to jail.
Assuming you're a first offender, and you case is resolved with some sort of favorable dismissal outcome, you will be given probation and terms of that probation; avoid issues and you are not going to jail. If you win at trial or your case is dismissed then you would not be going back to jail.
A person commits domestic assault in Michigan by assaulting a current or former spouse, an individual with whom the person is or was in a dating relationship, an individual with whom the person has a child, or a current or former resident of the person’s household. Domestic assault in Michigan and domestic assault and battery are misdemeanors punishable by up to 93 days in jail and a $500 fine, if the person has no prior convictions for domestic violence crimes.
If the assault involves neither a weapon nor the intent to murder but causes serious or aggravated injury, the person is subject to up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
If the person convicted of domestic assault or domestic assault and battery has a prior conviction for committing any of the following offenses against a current or former dating partner, current or former spouse, current or former household resident, or a co-parent, the new conviction may be punished by up to one year in prison or a $1,000 fine.