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Domestic Violence and Assault Charges in Chelsea, Michigan

By Daniel T. Geherin

The state of Michigan takes a strong stand in relation to protecting the safety of its citizens - and it takes the matter of domestic violence especially seriously.  A conviction for a crime related to domestic violence can result in severe personal and professional consequences that can last a lifetime. For this reason, if you’re being charged with domestic violence, it's in your best interest to retain an experienced Chelsea domestic violence attorney.

Domestic Abuse

There are several factors that must be addressed in domestic violence or domestic abuse cases. 

The Relationship

In domestic violence cases, there’s a special relationship between the accused and the victim, and this can include:

●      They live in the same household, or they once did.

●      They’re married, or they once were. These cases are often referred to as spousal abuse. 

●      They’re dating, or they once did.

●      They share a child or children.

●      The accused is the parent, stepparent, or foster parent of the victim. If the child is a minor, the charge is child abuse. 

The Abuse

For the act in question to be classified as domestic violence, one of the following must apply:

●      The accused intentionally caused the victim to fear being harmed imminently, which means in the here and now rather than at an unspecified future date. This is the crime of domestic assault.

●      The accused intentionally inflicted force or violence on the victim, which is the crime of domestic battery. 

Assault and battery charges are serious charges, and a conviction can lead to serious legal consequences that are difficult to overcome.   

The Charge

The charge of domestic violence can be classified as assault or aggravated assault, and the distinction between the two is a matter of degree. 

Domestic Assault 

The charge of domestic assault applies when an alleged victim has a credible fear of harm. The penalties associated with a conviction include:

●      A first charge is a misdemeanor, which carries up to 93 days in jail and up to $500 in fines. 

●      A second charge is also a misdemeanor, but the penalties are elevated to up to a year in jail and fines of up to $1,000. 

A third offense is charged as a felony. Community service, probation, and mandatory counseling can also be ordered by the court in relation to domestic assault charges of every kind. 

Aggravated Domestic Assault 

When the assault in question leaves the victim seriously injured and in need of immediate medical attention, the charge can be enhanced to aggravated domestic assault. The attendant penalties are also enhanced. Consider the following:

●      A first conviction is a misdemeanor that comes with a jail sentence of up to a year and fines of up to $1,000.

●      A second conviction is a felony that comes with a prison sentence of up to 5 years and fines of up to $5,000.   

If you’re facing domestic violence charges, you need a skilled Michigan domestic violence defense attorney in your corner.    

Restraining Orders

In Michigan, restraining orders that are related to domestic violence are called personal protection orders, and they are intended to stop the accused from engaging in harmful, frightening, or harassing behaviors against the person who obtains the order. Personal protection orders often require the accused to discontinue practices like the following:

●      Contacting the victim, including by phone or electronic means

●      Entering the victim’s residence

●      Approaching the victim

●      Following the victim

●      Threatening the victim with sexual assault, physical harm, or death

●      Threatening someone important to the victim with sexual assault, physical harm, or death

●      Bothering the victim at their job or school

●      Purchasing or possessing a firearm

●      Engaging in any other practice that causes the victim to make accommodations in order to protect their own safety

There’s a wide range of victim advocacy initiatives to help protect domestic violence victims from further harm. It's also important to note that there are serious fines and penalties associated with restraining order violations. 

Identifying Different Forms of Domestic Abuse

The Michigan State Police define domestic violence as a pattern of abuse that tends to be systemic and can take a wide range of forms. 

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse is what most of us think of when we consider domestic abuse, but it is only one of many categories of abuse that qualify. Classic forms of physical abuse include:

●      Mistreating the victim physically by shoving, slapping, pushing, kicking, hitting, punching, or biting them.

●      Interfering with the victim’s ability to breathe freely, such as by strangling them.

●      Refusing to allow the victim to obtain the aid they need in relation to an illness, injury, or pregnancy.

●      Hurling things at the victim.

●      Using a weapon against the victim or credibly threatening to do so.

●      Leaving the victim in a dangerous situation that leaves them vulnerable.

●      Using force to keep the victim in their home or to keep them out of their home.

Emotional Abuse

While emotional abuse doesn’t leave marks or bruises, it can be just as effective and just as harmful as physical abuse. Examples include:

●      Taunting the victim cruelly in an attempt to humiliate or degrade them.

●      Using ugly names to refer to the victim.

●      Manipulating the victim to do their bidding.

●      Threatening to commit suicide in front of the victim or attempting to do so.

●      Monitoring the victim’s comings and goings and engaging in other forms of jealous behaviors.

●      Blaming the victim for the abuse they endure, trivializing it, or both.

●      Lashing out at the victim in extreme anger.

●      Threatening to harm the victim, their children, their family members, their loved ones, or their pets.

Sexual Abuse

Domestic abuse can also be sexual, and common examples include:

●      Rape

●      Sexual groping

●      Sexual degradation

●      Command performances in front of children or others

●      Refusal to use protection against pregnancy or STDs

●      Threats or coercion related to sex

●      Injuries to the victim’s private areas

Financial Abuse

A form of domestic abuse that can be overlooked but that can have profound effects on the victim’s ability to get away from their abuser is financial abuse, can include:

●      When the accused denies the victim access to money, bank accounts, or credit cards.

●      When the accused prohibits the victim from working or from furthering their education and expanding their job opportunities.

●      When the accused controls the victim’s finances entirely.

●      When the accused won’t allow the victim to gain access to a vehicle.

●      When the accused limits the victim’s access to healthcare coverage.

Anyone of these can leave the victim extremely dependent on the accused, which can wear away at their resolve to leave or even to seek the help they need. As such, the state of Michigan takes every form of domestic abuse seriously, and its laws reflect this fact. 

Don’t Wait to Consult with an Experienced Chelsea Domestic Violence Attorney

Daniel T. Geherin is a seasoned domestic violence attorney near Chelsea, Michigan, and he’s committed to harnessing the full force of his experience and legal skill set in focused pursuit of your case’s best possible outcome. Learn more by contacting or calling Geherin Law Group, PLLC. at 734-263-2780 today.