Assault and Battery is an attempt to cause physical injury to another person – for instance, attempting to strike someone with a hand or object. Assault also is any intentional unlawful act or threat of action, such as raising a fist or brandishing a weapon. If the offender appears to have the ability to carry out the threat and the action reasonably causes a person to feel afraid of impending violence, the act is an assault. (Mich. Stat. Ann. §750.81.)
Assault and Battery is the intentional infliction of violence or force against another person, such as punching another person or hitting someone with an object. (Mich. Stat. Ann. §750.81.)
Michigan law categorizes these crimes as assault and “assault and battery” because the law views battery as the completion of a violent process, a threat or attempt to injure – assault – that ends in contact – a battery.
Assault or battery committed without a dangerous weapon is a misdemeanor, except in the case of domestic violence and certain victims, such as a police officer or emergency medical personnel. Assault and battery that results in serious injury is aggravated assault and battery and is punishable by more jail time, but still is a misdemeanor.
A person convicted of a simple assault or of assault and battery faces the following possible penalties:
A person convicted of aggravated assault and battery faces the following possible penalties:
Michigan judges can impose a conditional sentence of only a fine and restitution, and possibly probation, for simple assault or assault and battery. If the defendant defaults on payment of the fine or violates conditions of probation, the court can then impose the jail time allowed under the statute for the crime. (Mich. Stat. Ann. §769.3.)
An assault or assault and battery offender in Michigan also can receive a deferred sentence. The court defers or postpones sentencing for a period of time during which the defendant must serve probation or complete drug treatment court. If the defendant successfully completes probation or drug court, the charges will be dismissed at the end of the deferred sentence period and the defendant will have no conviction on his record. The deferral option also is available to domestic violence offenders with no prior assault or assault and battery convictions. (Mich. Stat. Ann. §769.4a.)
Finally, judges can sentence an offender to probation instead of jail time. A person on probation must meet regularly with a probation officer and comply with conditions set by the court, such as no further arrests or convictions, attending counseling or performing community service. If a person violates a condition of probation, he can be arrested, resentenced and required to serve the maximum sentence period in jail, with no credit for the time he served on probation. Unlike the deferred sentence option described just above, the defendant who successfully completes probation will not receive a dismissal.
Someone convicted of assault or battery in Michigan will be required to pay restitution, which means reimbursing the victim for any expenses resulting from the crime, such as the cost of medical treatment or counseling. (Mich. Stat. Ann. §769.1a.)
If you are facing a charge of assault or battery in Michigan, an attorney can investigate the case and determine if you were wrongfully charged or there are other reasons why the case should be dismissed before trial. If the charges are not dismissed, an attorney may be able to negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor on your behalf, or prepare a defense and represent you at trial if you believe you have been wrongly accused or if there are no reasonable plea options. Prosecutors often will negotiate and agree to let the defendant plead guilty to a different, less serious crime. Or, the prosecutor may agree to a deferred sentence or a lighter sentence, such as probation, in exchange for a plea of guilty to the charge.
A criminal conviction – whether for a misdemeanor or a felony – becomes part of your permanent criminal record. If you are convicted later of another crime, the court can consider your prior conviction and impose a harsher sentence in the new case. A convicted felon loses the right to vote, hold public office, serve as a juror (for seven years) and carry or own firearms. In certain circumstances, a felony conviction also can result in loss of a professional license. A criminal record—even a misdemeanor conviction, and particularly a conviction for a violent crime—can hurt you when you are looking for a job or applying to rent a house or apartment.
Only someone familiar with the local West Michigan criminal court system and cases like yours will know how good your chances are for a favorable outcome in court or at the negotiating table. A knowledgeable attorney will take all of this into consideration, assist you in making decisions about your case, and protect your rights.
Attorney Shawn Haff
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