Criminal Law


Battery Defense Attorney in Grand Rapids

Battery is a crime. It is usually preceded by an “assault”, that is, a threat against someone. Assault is the threat, battery is the following through on that threat, actually making contact with and harming the other person. Examples of battery include punching, pushing, knocking an object such as a cell phone out of someone’s hand, or harming them with an object. Ramming their vehicle (while they are inside), throwing something at them, or using a dangerous weapon against someone will all be charged as a battery. Because if someone commits a battery, an assault (threat) can be assumed, most prosecutors will charge the two crimes together as “Assault and Battery”.

Battery: What is that?

Battery is defined as “The willful or intentional touching of a person against that person’s will by another, or by an object or substance put in motion by another person.” M Civ JI 115.02.  (See Tinkler v Richter, 295 Mich 396; 295 NW 201 (1940).)

Battery is charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the severity of the crime, the investigating officer’s perception of intent, the victim, and whether a dangerous weapon was involved. Because battery generally follows an assault, Michigan law combines the two offenses and outlines the charges in MCL 750.81 et seq. The law lists various situations, levels of offense, details particular victims and outlines the penalties for each. Repeat offenses may also be charged as a felony which will result in longer jail sentences and/or larger fines. Felony charges are also harder to remove (purge) from a person’s record. Punishment includes fines, potential jail sentences, and restitution.

Restitution is court-ordered payment to the victim of a battery. It is meant to reimburse the victim for any expense they may have had in connection with the battery, including medical bills or therapy, etc. The amount of money the court may order as restitution will vary, depending on the type and severity of the victim’s injury, and the amount of costs the victim incurs.

Types of assault and battery charges are found under MCL 750.81 et seq., which details various situations and victims, and gives the legal consequences for each. The law includes:

  • Simple Assault and Battery: this is a battery where no dangerous weapon is involved. This will be charged as a misdemeanor.
  • Aggravated Assault and Battery: this is a battery where the victim is seriously injured in the attack. This will also normally be charged as a misdemeanor, with stiffer penalties than a simple assault.
  • Domestic Assault and Battery: this is a battery against a spouse, a former spouse, a person you are dating or have dated, someone who lives with you in your residence, or is the parent of your child. A first or second offense will be charged as a misdemeanor, with stiff penalties; a third or repeated offense will be charged as a felony, with even more serious penalties including much longer jail time. As above, an aggravated assault and battery will result in harsher sentencing.
  • Felony Assault and Battery: this is where the assault and battery involves using a dangerous weapon. There are several levels to this charge, depending on the circumstances.
    • Assault or assault and battery (MCL 750.81)
    • Assault with infliction of serious bodily harm (MCL 750.81a)
    • Threats or assault against employee of family independence agency (MCL 750.81.c)
    • Assaulting, battering, resisting, obstructing, opposing person performing duty (MCL 750.81d)
    • Assault or battery of employee or contractor of public utility (MCL 750.81e)
    • Felonious assault—this is an assault involving a “dangerous weapon”, which could include anything from a gun or knife, to anything that could potentially be used to harm someone, such as a bottle or even a car (MCL 750.82)
    • Assault with intent to commit murder (MCL 750.83)
    • Assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder and assault by strangulation or suffocation (MCL 750.84)
    • Torture (MCL 750.84)
    • Assault with intent to maim (MCL 750.86)
    • Assault with intent to commit felony not otherwise punished (MCL 750.87)
    • Unarmed assault with intent to rob and steal (MCL 750.88)
    • Armed assault with intent to rob and steal (MCL 750.89)
    • Assault against a pregnant woman and assault that results in miscarriage or injury to a fetus (MCL 750.90a)

Assault and battery laws are written with a fair amount of ambiguity built in. Much of the decision to charge a person with assault and battery, and the level that person is charged with depends on what the investigating officer, prosecutor or judge perceives as the person’s intent. This can be a gray area, particularly in a domestic situation where the penalties are harsher and the person claiming to be the victim may not be reacting in proportion to what actually occurred. Don’t leave your future to chance. If you are charged with committing a battery or an assault and battery, keep in mind that a criminal conviction may have serious consequences beyond fines and/or jail time. A criminal record may affect your ability to get a job, a loan, or a place to live. Contact Van Den Heuvel Law Office right away to make sure you protect your rights.

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To talk with our attorney about your legal concerns, contact the Van Den Heuvel Law Office by calling 616-698-0000. You may also complete our online contact form. After-hours consultations are available by appointment. We are also available on Skype by appointment.

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