Criminal Law

Domestic Violence

Criminal Law
Domestic Violence

Grand Rapids Domestic Violence Lawyers

Domestic violence is not just a reason to end a marriage, it is a crime. Like with any other crime, an individual facing a domestic violence charge can only be convicted if the court finds him or her guilty of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt.

You can defend your case against a domestic violence charge with the help of a criminal defense lawyer. As soon as you can after you are arrested for alleged domestic violence, start working on your defense with a lawyer. Do not say anything about the alleged incident to law enforcement and do not answer any questions about it without first consulting with an attorney.

Domestic Violence Charges in Michigan

In Michigan, domestic violence can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances of the case. Domestic violence is defined as any violence or realistic threat of violence between a married couple, a couple who has a child together, members of the same household, or a couple engaged in a dating relationship.

Penalties for Domestic Violence and PPO Violation Convictions in Michigan

There are two types of domestic violence charges in Michigan: domestic assault and aggravated domestic assault. A victim does not need to demonstrate that he or she was injured to file a domestic assault charge. To file an aggravated domestic assault charge, the victim must show that his or her injury necessitated medical attention.

Domestic assault is the act of attempting to injure or successfully assaulting a domestic partner as defined above. For an individual’s first and second offense, this is a misdemeanor charge.

  • For an individual’s first conviction of domestic assault, he or she faces up to 93 days in jail and a fine of up to $500;
  • For a second offense, a convicted individual faces up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000; and
  • Once an individual is charged with domestic assault a third time, he or she faces a felony charge. The penalties for this are up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $2,500.

Aggravated domestic assault is defined as a domestic assault without a weapon. If the weapon use causes the victim to suffer an injury, the alleged abuser faces a felonious assault charge. This is a felony punishable by up to four years in prison and a fine of up to $2,000.

Otherwise, aggravated domestic assault is still a misdemeanor, but with steeper penalties than a simple domestic assault charge. For a first offense, the defendant faces up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. For a second offense, he or she faces up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $2,500.

Protective Orders

Protective orders are those orders that are issued by a court that require a person to stay away from another party. Further, they may also prevent the person named in the order from buying a gun, causing harm to any other parties named in the order, entering a shared home, taking children, and more. Protective orders can be issued by both civil and criminal courts. For example, a civil court may issue a protective order when a party claims that they are a victim of domestic violence, or a criminal court may issue a protective order–typically called a restraining order in this context–in a criminal case involving violence or sexual assault.

If you have had a protective order filed against you, it is important that you understand the consequences of the order. Further, it is essential that you understand that violation of the order can carry criminal penalties.

Consequences for Violating a Protective Order in Michigan

Once a person has been served with a personal protection order (PPO) in Michigan, they can be arrested by the police without a warrant if the police have cause to believe that they have violated the stipulations of the PPO. Here’s what will happen next:

  • Arraignment. You will have a chance to plead guilty or not guilty to the crime of violation of a personal protection order. Our criminal defense lawyers recommend that you call an attorney before entering a plea.
  • Hearing. If you plead not guilty to the charges–which is recommended–then there will be a hearing where the judge over your case will hear the case, and decide whether or not you are guilty. Again, it is highly recommended that you seek a lawyer at this stage in the process if you have not already done so. If you are found guilty, you will be held in criminal contempt of court.
  • Sentencing. If found guilty, the judge will determine what your sentence should be. Consequences might include jail time (up to 93 days) as well as a fine (of up to $500). You may also be ordered to pay restitution to the person whom the PPO was designed to protect if you caused them any damage by violating the PPO.

Further, you may face other criminal charges if your violation of the PPO includes any other criminal acts, such as trespass, assault, and battery, domestic assault, sexual assault, etc.

Work with an Experienced Grand Rapids Criminal Defense Lawyer

Never assume that a charge is a conviction. You have the right to tell your side of the story and defend your case in court. The most effective way to do this is to work with an experienced criminal defense lawyer to develop and present an effective defense strategy. To get started on your legal defense strategy, contact Van Den Heuvel Law Office today to set up your initial consultation with us.

Contact a Knowledgeable Grand Rapids Attorney

For An Initial Consultation

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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