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What is Domestic Violence in Michigan?

April 1, 2020 Criminal Law and Procedure

With the Coronavirus pandemic growing, people are staying indoors. The expectation is that people will stay hunkered down in their homes through at least the end of April. Tensions are running high. Arrests for domestic violence could increase with this newfound tension in close quarters.

What is Considered Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is an assault or battery that is committed against a person you are in a relationship with or with whom you share a household. Here is how I explain assault and battery. A battery is where I punch someone. An assault is where I threaten to punch someone and have the immediate ability to do it, or I try to punch someone and miss. A battery does not have to be as severe as a punch. A battery could be a push, a slap, spitting at someone, grabbing a person, or sometimes even grabbing an object a person is holding. The key to whether an action is a batter is whether the touching of the other person is offensive and non-consensual.

Can an Assault or Battery ever be Legally Justified?

There are times when an assault or battery was committed but the action was justified. The main justification is self-defense. If someone is about to punch me, I can use force to stop them first. I don’t have to let a person use force against me. Or if a person is actually punching me I can physical action against them too.

Self-defense action must be proportionate to the action against you. For example, if someone pushes me, I can probably push them back or maybe punch them. However, if someone pushes me, I can’t pull out a knife and stab them. The action I take in self-defense must be reasonable in relation to the force or potential force against me.

Are There Defenses to Domestic Violence?

There are many defenses to domestic violence charges. One major defense is self-defense. Self-defense again is where I concede that I committed an assault or battery but that action was justified.

An assault or battery must be intentional. I can’t accidentally batter someone.

In many cases, the person making the accusation has lied to the police. The person is intentionally trying to get you in trouble, knowing that getting charged with a crime will hurt you. Just being accused of domestic violence can lead to an actual arrest, removal from the home, and difficulty with jobs and employment. This is not lost on the person making the accusation.

Accusations of domestic violence come in a hundred shades of black, white, and gray. An assault and battery situation is rarely straightforward or clear cut. Generally, it takes two to tango and both sides may have unclean hands.

How Can ArborYpsi Law Help You With a Domestic Violence Charge?

ArborYpsi Law is skilled at handling domestic violence cases. We have represented many people charged with every type of assault and battery under the sun.

Two weeks ago, we secured a Not Guilty verdict at a bench trial for a very deserving client. The client had been accused of domestic violence. The reality was that the client was really the victim of domestic violence. The accuser had been exerting all types of abuse and control – not just physical, but economic, verbal, control over immigration status – over the client for years.

The client finally got the nerve to report this accuser to the police. The accuser was arrested and charged with domestic violence in Ohio. So what happened then, you ask? The accuser went to the police in Michigan and accused the client of domestic violence! Somehow the client got charged despite the accuser already charged and the situation dragged on for a year. Eventually, the client got his day in court, and ArborYpsi Law argued strongly on his behalf.

We spent probably close to a hundred hours on the case – time in court, with the client, reading police reports in two states, reading personal protection orders, and preparing for trial. It was all worth it when the client heard he was being acquitted and could put the nightmare of a false accusation behind him and move on with his life. At ArborYpsi Law, we will put this same energy into representing you and helping you through a difficult time. We give this time and attention to all our clients.

Not every case will go to trial. Often our clients want us to make the case go away quietly. For example, many people wish to take responsibility for something they did and which they are to blame. At the same time the person hopes that we can keep a charge off of his or her record. There are types of plea bargain resolutions that we can discuss with the prosecutor to make these cases go away quietly. We never blindly march toward trial – we will discuss these options with you in case you are interested in seeking this type of outcome. 

Have You Been Charged With Domestic Violence?

Call a domestic violence attorney in Ann Arbor for help with your case. From the first phone call, we will explain the law, the procedure, and your options so that you have all the information you need at each stage of the case to be confident in your decisions.

Contact us at 734.883.9584

Call Sam Bernstein at 734.883.9584 or e-mail at bernstein@arborypsilaw.com.

Sam Bernstein is an Ann Arbor Domestic Violence Attorney.

ArborYpsi Law is located at 4158 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48108.

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