Articles Posted in Assault

Whenever you see a brawl at a bar, or a fight at school, what you observed was an assault and battery under the law. There is a distinction between the two but they are typically together because they go hand and hand. Assault and battery penalties are varies depending on who is involved (stranger, boyfriend, minor, etc.), if an object or weapon was used, and the type of injury sustained (bruise, strangulation, coma, etc.). If you found yourself in a situation where you were either charged with assault and battery or a victim, the criminal defense and DUI lawyers at Hilf & Hilf, PLC, can provide you with experienced and honest legal assistance.

To understand the difference between assault and battery in Michigan, you must first determine intention and contact. First, assault actually falls under two categories. The first is having the intention to cause physical injury to someone else or even intentional threat of action. Intentionally striking an individual with any type of object or your hand is assault. A simple push can constitute an assault and battery.

Since assault is intention of harming someone, battery is the actual contact from the assault. A few examples of this would be actually using the weapon to hurt the individual or punching another individual with your hands. Once there is contact from the offender to the victim, then battery has been committed. Michigan will combine the crimes as “assault and battery” because they essentially complete each other as a violent process. Whenever you have battery, you will always have assault beforehand because there was that impending violence then the actual violence.

A common bond condition and/or condition of sentence in domestic violence cases is for the Defendant to not have any contact with the complaining witness.  No contact generally means no direct contact or no indirect contact.  Direct contact includes activities such as face to face meetings, telephone calls, video conferencing, etc..  Indirect contact includes activities such as emails, text messages, letters, having a third party contact the complaining witness, etc.  The rationale behind a no contact provision is to protect the alleged victim from harm, to allow the Defendant to seek counseling to address the behavior that lead to the alleged assault (which, of course, is contrary to the presumption of innocence that the Defendant is supposed to maintain), and to help ensure that the testimony of the complaining witness is not tainted through further contact with the Defendant or by the influence of the Defendant. It should be noted that no contact provisions are not limited to domestic violence cases, and can be a condition of bond and/or sentence for just about any criminal matter.

In many domestic violence situations, once the emotions have settled, the complaining witness no longer wishes to pursue a criminal allegation.  In some situations this is due to the allegation being made to seem more serious than it really was because of the inflamed passions of the parties at the time of the police involvement.  Sometimes the complaining witness lied to the police about what occurred (because of anger, child care issues, jealousy, etc.) and does not want to risk being accused of perjury or alternatively for making a false police report.  In other situations the complaining witness does not want to pursue the matter because of the mentality that some people have to blame themselves for domestic violence, and/or feel a psychological need to continue their relationship with an abuser.  Sometimes an alleged victim believes that the matter is a family situation that should not involve the Courts.  Sometimes the complaining witness realizes that a domestic violence conviction can impact the Defendant’s career (by losing a job, losing an ability to be licensed for a job, losing ability to maintain a concealed weapons permit or ability to possess a firearm, etc.) which hurts his or her bottom line because of the financial support that the Defendant provides.  For persons that are not citizens, a criminal conviction can lead to removal from the United States depending upon the circumstances, which also can influence the alleged victim’s thinking.  In short, there are many reasons why the alleged victim may not wish to pursue a criminal complaint.
The attitude of most Prosecutors is that they do not care about what the alleged victim wants because the Prosecutor theoretically represents all the people of the community.  Many Prosecutors feel that they have to protect victims of domestic violence and remove him victims from a cycle of violence.  Also, to not pursue charges may have a negative impact on the morale of police officers who, in the Prosecutors’ minds, work solely to protect the community.  County prosecutors are elected officials and are fearful that someone who they chose not to prosecute could end up committing a more serious (and newsworthy) crime against their spouse or significant other.  City and Local Prosecutors are often hired by the city (with the Court having influence on the hiring process)  and do not want to do anything that could lead to their contract not being renewed or otherwise losing their jobs.  Many Judges are far from neutral and lean towards the Prosecution in their rationales and judgment.  Although rare and not done by most Prosecutors and/or Courts, it is not unheard of for some Prosecutors and/or some Courts to use no contact provisions coercively to encourage the criminal case to resolve by means of a plea and not through trial.

In Michigan, a person who assaults an individual without a weapon and inflicts serious or aggravated injury, without intending to commit murder or to inflict great bodily harm less than murder, can be charged with a misdemeanor offense called Aggravated Assault.  Aggravated Assault is a misdemeanor offense that carries a maximum possible sentence of 1 year in jail and/or a possible fine of up to $1,000.  A serious or aggravated injury is defined as a physical injury that requires immediate medical treatment or that causes disfigurement, impairment of health, or impairment of a part of the body.

The offense becomes a 2 year maximum felony (Aggravated Domestic Violence) if all of the following occur:
First, the instant charge is Aggravated Assault;

There are 3 main murder charges in Michigan: First Degree Murder (also known as premeditated murder); Felony Murder; and Second Degree Murder. First Degree Murder and Felony Murder both carry as punishment life in prison without parole. Second Degree Murder carries the possibility of parole after many years in prison. To prove the crime of First Degree Murder beyond a reasonable doubt the prosecution must establish that:

1)      The victim died;

2)      The death was caused by the Defendant;

In Michigan, there are several offenses which can constitute Robbery, including: Armed Robbery; Unarmed Robbery;  Assault with Intent to Rob while Armed; Assault with Intent to Rob while Unarmed; Carjacking; Bank, Safe, and Vault Robbery; and Home Invasion. All of these offenses are felonies, and require the assistance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer.

Armed Robbery in Michigan is a life maximum offense, that carries a mandatory prison sentence.  If an aggravated assault or serious injury occurred during the commission of this offense, the prison sentence cannot be less than 2 years on the minimum prison sentence.
At trial, the Prosecution has the burden of proving the following 5 elements beyond a reasonable doubt: