Can Domestic Violence Charges Be Dropped in Michigan?
March 9, 2023 – Rob LaBre
A domestic violence charge is one of Michigan’s most serious criminal charges — and with good reason. The law protects victims of domestic violence and deals harsh punishments to perpetrators. But what happens if an ex-partner or spouse decides to falsely accuse you? Can domestic violence charges be dropped in Michigan?
In the blog below, our experienced Michigan domestic violence attorney explains how the criminal justice system treats domestic violence cases in MI and why you need a competent criminal defense lawyer. To schedule a consultation to discuss your case, contact LaBre Law Office at (269) 431-2058.
What Is a Domestic Violence Charge?
In Michigan, domestic violence is aggressive or threatening behavior against a family or household member. It includes acts like physical assault, unlawful imprisonment, or any physical, emotional, or sexual abuse that the offender uses to control or intimidate a person in their household.
Domestic violence often occurs between spouses or domestic partners, but by law, a “family or household member” can also be:
- An ex-spouse or partner
- A present or past dating partner
- A co-parent
- A child
- A stepchild or stepparent
- A foster child or parent
- Anyone presently or formerly sharing a household with the perpetrator
What Penalties Can I Face for First-time Domestic Violence Charges in Michigan?
Typically, a first domestic violence offense gets charged as a misdemeanor. First-time offenders may face up to 93 days of imprisonment and/or a maximum fine of $500. Penalties may also include up to two years of probation, community service, and mandatory anger counseling.
The situation changes if the court convicts the offender of aggravated domestic assault, which means the violent incident inflicted severe injuries on the victim that required urgent medical care. A first-offense aggravated domestic assault may still count as a misdemeanor; however, it could result in up to a year behind bars, a fine of up to $1000, or both.
A first-time aggravated domestic assault may get charged as a felony and lead to a significantly longer time in jail if:
- The offender used a dangerous weapon
- The prosecutor can prove that the offender intended to cause grave bodily harm to the victim
- The offender attempted to suffocate or strangulate the victim
What Happens When You Get a Second Domestic Violence Charge?
A second domestic violence charge may still count as a misdemeanor and lead to a maximum imprisonment term of one year and a fine of $1,000. A third domestic violence charge automatically gets classed as a felony, with possible penalties including up to five years in jail and up to $2,500 in fines.
Suppose the second charge is aggravated domestic assault. In that case, Michigan law considers it a felony, with the accompanying penalties of up to five years in jail and possibly as many years of probation. As more serious charges, felonies go through the local circuit court (a higher jurisdiction than the district court, which handles misdemeanors).
Does a Domestic Violence Charge Affect Employment?
The consequences of a domestic violence conviction go far beyond legal penalties. Potential employers can run criminal background checks and avoid employing past offenders, even if the charge was only a misdemeanor and happened a long time ago.
Landlords and lenders may refuse to provide housing or approve a loan for people with past domestic violence convictions. In Michigan, a domestic violence conviction stays on the record for life unless you seek expungement.
Other collateral consequences:
A person convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence is precluded by federal law from possessing a firearm. Although a domestic violence conviction does not render a noncitizen inadmissible, after September 30, 1996, a conviction for domestic violence does render a noncitizen deportable from the United States. It does not matter how long the noncitizen has held a visa or green card. Committing the crime at any time after being admitted to the United States renders the person deportable. However, the Attorney General is not bound by the court and may waive this provision. Any felony conviction may also prevent the defendant from receiving federal and state benefits and presents many other restrictions.
How a Skilled Domestic Violence Attorney Can Help You
When asking, “Can domestic violence charges be dropped?” it’s important to understand that once the Michigan criminal justice system starts working, the alleged victim can’t simply drop the charges. The prosecution will carry on with the case based on available evidence, such as the post-incident police report, witness statements, or recordings of calls to 911.
To protect your legal rights, freedom, and future, you should start working with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Your domestic violence lawyer may:
- Study the evidence against you and look for valid grounds for a case dismissal
- Explain your legal options (pleading not guilty vs. a plea deal)
- Negotiate a plea deal with the prosecution and work to lessen your sentence
- Fight for you in the courtroom if necessary
- Work with you to expunge the domestic violence conviction from your criminal record
Facing Domestic Violence Charges in Michigan? Contact LaBre Law Office, Where Excellence Is Our Standard
Whether domestic violence charges can be dropped in Michigan depends on the relevant evidence, your past criminal history, and your choice of a domestic violence lawyer to represent you.
With your future at stake, you need an honest, reliable, and experienced domestic violence attorney in your corner. At LaBre Law Office, we build powerful strategies to defend our clients against domestic violence charges openly and fairly. Please call (269) 431-2058 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with our law firm today. La Bre Law Office ~ Excellence Is Our Standard.
Copyright © 2023. LaBre Law Office. All rights reserved.
The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country, or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.
Every situation is different and requires personalized legal strategy and attention. Tell us about your current situation and we would be happy to discuss your legal options. We have the skills, experience and resources needed to provide you with compassionate legal service.
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