Under Michigan law, it is a crime to threaten to harm or to actually harm an intimate partner. Michigan domestic violence laws were enacted to benefit victims of these sorts of crimes. However, in too many cases innocent individuals are falsely accused of having committed domestic violence. Just being charged with such conduct can lead to serious consequences. What are you to do if you are charged? Call George Law at (248) 470-4300.
What Happens if Michigan Domestic Violence Victims Refuse to Testify?
If a domestic violence victim refuses to testify, it’s unclear what will result. This may increase or decrease the strength of the prosecution against the defendant. But generally speaking, a victim’s testimony is often the most significant evidence against a defendant. If there is other evidence or proof that the crime was committed, the case may continue without the victim’s testimony. But if the case relies heavily on the victim’s testimony, the prosecutor may drop the charges. The victim does not have to press charges or help the case in any way.
What Are Some Strategies to Defend Against Domestic Violence Charges?
If you have been charged with domestic violence, the experienced lawyers at George Law can take you through the plethora of potential defenses that can be used. When charges are brought against you, George Law will evaluate the police report of the incident, review the facts, and work with you to create a defense that shows YOUR side of the case.
Possible strategies for defense include:
- You didn’t commit the crime – This is often the best defense. If you can show that the victim was abused by someone else, you are unlikely to be convicted. We will work with you to establish where you were and confirm your alibi for the time of the incident. We will also search for contrary evidence to oppose what the prosecution may say at trial.
- The other person is lying – Partners all too often lie about the abuse. If this occurs in your case, we will work hard to discover the truth. We will see if the victim’s injuries support you and whether the story is inconsistent with the crime report.
- It was an accident – If the entire incident was an accident, we work with you to discover evidence of that. This is denying that you intentionally caused the injury, but not that you were not present.
- It was done in self-defense – You may have been trying to defend yourself or your children. We will check the police report for victim statements about violence, determine why force was used, compare stories, and check whether injuries indicate self-defense.
- The case against you cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt – This is often true if the victim chooses not to testify or there simply is no proof of the allegations against you. We will carefully examine the prosecutor’s case, review all alleged facts with you, check injuries you may have, confirm information in the officer’s reports, and look for other evidence that may indicate you did not commit the crime.
What are Common Michigan Domestic Violence Crimes?
Michigan recognizes many forms of domestic violence. However, some arise more often than others. Typically, they involve allegations of some form of abuse, neglect, battery, and threats. Some of these are misdemeanors, but most are considered felonies. It depends on the defendant’s criminal record, the circumstances surrounding the event, and the seriousness of the injuries.
- Domestic Battery – This is related to inflicting force or violence on an intimate partner and does not require a visible injury.
- Child Abuse – Child Abuse is inflicting injury or corporal punishment on a child except in the case of a reasonable spanking.
- Criminal Threats – This crime relates to threatening someone with serious harm.
- Child Neglect – This crime is when a parent willfully fails to provide necessities for a child such as shelter, food, or medical care.
- Stalking – The Michigan law for stalking prohibits threatening or harassing another person to the point where they have a fear for their safety or the safety of their family. A new wrinkle is whether stalking can be accomplished from a distance through electronic means by using email, text messages, etc.
What Are the Consequences of a Michigan Domestic Violence Conviction?
While a fine and/or jail time may be required for many of the crimes, but these can be the smallest problem for you. Prosecutors like to add other consequences onto a conviction to make the punishment even more severe. These include:
- Immigration consequences for non-citizens
- Loss of gun rights
- Loss of custody rights
- Mandatory minimum jail time
- Mandatory participation in a batterer’s intervention program
- Payment of victim restitution and/or fines
- A permanent criminal record
- A restraining order
The Importance of an Experienced Lawyer
It is critical to have an experienced attorney to help you develop a legal-defense strategy when you are faced with domestic-violence charges. George Law can help you. Call it 24-hours a day at (248) 470-4300 or reach out by email.