Itâ€™s a shocking statistic: according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, an average of 20 people are subjected to violence from an intimate partner each minute in the United States. Women are the victims in more than 95 percent of all cases. Unfortunately, Michigan residents are not immune. According to The Turning Point, a Macomb County organization that provides assistance to domestic violence victims, more than 60,000 Michigan women were victims of domestic violence in 2011, with more than 5,000 of those residing in Macomb County.
Under the Michigan Domestic Violence Act, a person commits â€śdomestic assaultâ€ť or â€śdomestic batteryâ€ť if the victim is a current or former spouse, an individual with whom the person is or was in a dating relationship, the co-parent of the personâ€™s child, or a current or former resident of the personâ€™s household, and commits any of the following:
An actual physical assault is not required. Any threats or other actions that would make a reasonable person feel â€śterrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molestedâ€ť is enough.
For most first offenses that donâ€™t involve a weapon or the intent to kill the victim, a conviction can result in imprisonment for up to 93 days and a fine of up to $500.00. Second and subsequent convictions can result in substantially stiffer penalties. The penalties may also be greater if the defendant was convicted of a crime of violence against the victim before they were married, had a child together, or were in a dating relationship, even if those crimes occurred in another state.
Ordinarily, a Michigan law enforcement officer may not make an arrest unless an arrest warrant has been issued or the officer actually witnesses the crime. In cases of domestic assault or battery, however, the arresting officer need only have a â€śreasonable beliefâ€ť that a domestic assault or battery has occurred. This can be based on the victimâ€™s statements, along with cuts, bruises, or other evidence of injury.
In addition to pressing criminal charges, a victim of actual or threatened domestic violence may obtain a personal protection order (PPO). A PPO generally bars the accused abuser from the victimâ€™s home but also prohibits any personal, or other (telephone, text, or email) contact with the victim.
The purpose of a PPO is to prevent domestic violence by removing the alleged abuser from the home before a serious assault occurs. For this reason, a PPO can be issued immediately without the alleged abuserâ€™s knowledge, based on the victimâ€™s sworn affidavit. There is a hearing at which the accused may tell his side of the story; for example, if he claims to have been acting in self-defense.
If a PPO has been issued against you, contacting the alleged victim can result in your arrest, even without any actual or threatened act of violence.
If youâ€™re a resident of Macomb County and are the accused perpetrator of domestic violence, knowing your rights under Michigan law is essential. The experienced domestic violence attorneys at Lucido & Manzella, P.C. can help you understand your options. Donâ€™t delay â€“ call today (586) 228-3900.
Our consultations offer an opportunity for you to meet our team and discuss your legal issues.
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