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Domestic Violence and Assault Charges in Ypsilanti

By Daniel T. Geherin

Domestic violence laws prohibit violence, threats of violence, or intimidating behavior towards family members and intimate partners, and the state of Michigan takes these crimes very seriously. If you’ve been charged with domestic violence, you’re not alone – an experienced Ypsilanti domestic violence attorney is standing by to help. 

Is It Domestic Abuse?

For the charge of domestic abuse – also called domestic violence and spousal abuse – to apply, there are conditions that must be met. 

The Qualifying Relationship

The charge of domestic abuse relates specifically to domestic relationships, which include all the following:

●      The accused and the victim live in the same household, or they did in the past. 

●      The accused and the victim are married or are in a romantic relationship, or they were in the past.

●      The accused is the victim’s parent, adoptive parent, stepparent, or foster parent.

The Qualifying Act

For specific acts to qualify as domestic violence, they must be included in one of the following classifications:

●      The accused intentionally struck fear of imminent harm in the victim, which is classified as domestic assault. 

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

While the victim of assault doesn’t have to be physically harmed for the charge to apply, aggravated assault charges apply when the victim is injured to the degree that they require immediate medical attention. 

Legal Penalties

The penalties associated with simple assault charges include:

●      A first offense is a misdemeanor that comes with jail time of up to 93 days and fines of up to $500. 

●      A second offense remains a misdemeanor, but you can face up to a year in jail and fines of up to $1,000. 

●      A third offense is a felony, and a conviction carries up to five years in prison and fines of up to $2,500.

Other considerations are probation, community service, and court costs. Because the stakes are high, you need a practiced Ypsilanti domestic violence defense attorney in your corner. When the charge is aggravated assault, the penalties are even more serious. Consider the following:

●      A first offense is charged as a misdemeanor that carries a jail sentence of up to a year and fines of up to $1,000. 

●      A second offense is charged as a felony that carries a prison sentence of up to 5 years and fines of up to $5,000.

Personal Protection Orders

Help for domestic violence victims can come in the form of personal protection orders (PPOs), which many refer to as restraining orders. The intention behind such orders is to put the brakes on abuse and affording victims with specific protections. PPOs often require alleged abusers to discontinue practices like:

●      Contacting the victim – whether that means in person, on the phone, by mail, or electronically.

●      Approaching or following the victim.

●      Entering the victim’s home.

●      Threatening the victim or someone they care about with harm, sexual assault, or death.

●      Coming to the victim’s school or place of employment.

●      Engaging in any additional acts that cause the victim to experience fear.

●      Possessing or purchasing a gun.

Violating a restraining order is a separate crime that comes with serious penalties of its own.

The Various Forms of Domestic Abuse

Michigan State Police identify various forms of domestic abuse, which are wide-ranging. Because domestic violence represents a pattern of abusive behaviors, it's important to recognize the many forms it can take. 

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse is a common form of domestic abuse, and it’s the most dangerous. Examples include:

●      Strangling the victim or otherwise restricting their breathing, which is as terrifying as it is dangerous.

●      Pushing, shoving, hitting, slapping, punching, biting, or otherwise harming the victim physically.

●      Not allowing the victim to seek the help they need in relation to pregnancy, illness, or injury.

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

●      Throwing things at the victim that have the potential to harm them.

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

●      Leaving the victim vulnerable to a dangerous situation.

Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse can be difficult to prove, but the harm caused is undeniable. Examples include:

●      Taunting the victim .

●      Humiliating or degrading the victim.

●      Engaging in hurtful name-calling.

●      Threatening to physically harm the victim, their loved ones, or their pets.

●      Giving in to obsessively jealous tendencies, such as monitoring the victim.

●      Trivializing the abuse suffered by the victim or blaming them for causing it.

●      Threatening or attempting suicide in the victim’s presence.

●      Lashing out at the victim in anger or rage.

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse is a common component of domestic violence, and all the following qualify:

●      Groping the victim in a sexual but unwanted manner.

●      Engaging in the sexual degradation of the victim.

●      Forcing the victim to have sex in front of others, which can include their own children.

●      Threatening or coercing the victim to engage in a sex act.

●      Injuring the victim’s genitals or private area.

●      Refusing to use protection in relation to STDs or pregnancy.

●      Raping the victim.

Financial Abuse

Domestic abuse is a mechanism of control that is designed to chip away at the victim and make it difficult – or next to impossible – for them to break free. Because it can erode the victim’s autonomy significantly, financial abuse can play a critical role in the process. Consider these examples:

●      Prohibiting the victim from earning their own money.

●      Prohibiting the victim from obtaining additional education that would enhance their earning potential.

●      Controlling the victim’s job experience, such as by monitoring them excessively and by insisting on dropping them off and picking them up from work.

●      Denying the victim access to bank accounts, credit cards, cash, and other financial resources .

●      Controlling the victim’s finances entirely.

●      Limiting the victim's access to healthcare.

●      Ensuring that the victim doesn’t have access to a vehicle.

When a victim is isolated to this degree – with no resources to counteract the effects – getting out safely becomes very challenging. 

Seek the Guidance of an Experienced Ypsilanti Domestic Violence Lawyer Today

If you’re looking for an Ypsilanti domestic violence attorney that will listen, provide personal attention, and fight aggressively for you, look no further than Geherin Law Group. Attorney Daniel T. Geherin is a board-certified attorney with over 25 years of experience. Mr. Geherin handles criminal defense, license restoration, and certain civil law cases such as wrongful death. He’s helped thousands of clients throughout his career and is ready to do the same for you. Mr. Geherin offers free consultations and will give you candid advice on your situation. Don’t’ hesitate to give Mr. Geherin and his team a call at (734) 263-2780 or email at