Due to Michigan’s strict stay-at-home guidelines, people are home from work and school with nowhere to go. Predictably, this has led to increased friction between family members, which has reportedly led to an increase in domestic violence calls. If you’ve been accused of domestic violence and are now facing charges, you should speak with an Ann Arbor domestic violence lawyer as soon as possible.
What to Do if You Are Facing Charges
First, you should remain calm. Many people who are accused of domestic violence believe that their case is hopeless and that no one will believe their side of the story. Fortunately, this is not the case – you are innocent until proven guilty, and a skilled attorney can use the facts and the law to help you craft an effective defense.
If you are under a restraining order (referred to as a “personal protection order”), you should absolutely comply with its terms. Do not have any contact with your accuser or the alleged victim, directly or indirectly. If you are being required to leave your home, do so as soon as possible. We realize that this can be more difficult than usual at this time, but find somewhere to go, even if it means staying with a friend or family member for the time being. You can make arrangements to have someone get your belongings later on.
Hire a Domestic Violence Lawyer
Lawyers are expensive, but if you are charged with domestic violence, they are a valuable investment in your future. The procedures involving restraining orders and domestic violence charges are complicated and confusing for non-lawyers. A simple misstep or honest mistake can jeopardize your case, leaving you with a criminal conviction and subject to severe restrictions on your personal freedom. A knowledgeable Ann Arbor domestic violence lawyer can help you successfully avoid the procedural pitfalls as well as build the best possible defense.
The Penalties You May Face
Depending on the circumstances surrounding your case, domestic violence can be charged as a misdemeanor or a penalty. As a result, there is a wide variety of penalties you could face if you are convicted.
Most domestic violence charges are misdemeanors which carry the following penalties:
- First offense: Up to 93 days in jail and a fine of up to $500
- Second offense: Up to 1 year in jail and a fine of $1,000
However, if this is your third offense, you will face a felony domestic violence charge. If you are convicted, you could go to prison for up to 5 years and be subject to fines of up to $5,000.
You could face felony charges in the following situations:
- Assault with a dangerous weapon: up to 4 years in prison
- Assault with the intent to commit serious bodily harm: up to 10 years in prison
- Assault by strangulation or suffocation: up to 10 years in prison
Don’t Face Your Charges Alone – Call an Ann Arbor Domestic Violence Lawyer
A domestic violence conviction can change your life forever. In addition to jail and fines, you will carry the stigma of your conviction for years to come. If you’ve been charged with domestic violence, you need someone on your side who will fight for a fair outcome. Contact an Ann Arbor domestic violence lawyer to discuss your case – contact ArborYpsi Law at 734-883-9584 to schedule a free consultation today.