As a Michigan domestic assault lawyer, I hear this question all too often, and I will try to answer it for you with as much clarity as possible. First of all, the terms “domestic assault” and “domestic violence” are the same thing – they are used pretty much interchangeably, and they both pertain to the same crime under Michigan law.
Under Michigan law, domestic assault, first offense is a misdemeanor. This means that aside from other probation conditions and the maximum $500 fine, a first conviction for domestic assault can put you in Jail for up to 93 days. But before you freak-out, please do yourself the favor of calling The Law Office of Brian J. Prain, PLLC and speak to an experienced domestic assault lawyer.
Here’s the deal: if it is your first domestic assault conviction, you’re probably not going to Jail. I use the word “probably” very selectively because although a first domestic assault conviction probably won’t put you in Jail, it is still possible, and the District Court Judge will have a ton of discretion over what happens to you at your domestic assault sentencing. The Judge will consider the seriousness of the domestic assault, your compliance with the terms and conditions of your Bond (more on that in other posts), your criminal history (including any other domestic assault or other assaultive convictions), the desires of the victim (under the Crime Victim Rights Act), the Pre-Sentence Investigation Report, whatever comments you may say at the domestic assault sentencing, and any mitigating factors in your favor.
After considering those things, the Judge will arrive at your domestic assault sentence. Your domestic assault sentence for a first conviction will likely include probation conditions such as: community service, a weekly course, no alcohol or drugs (and testing if those substances were part of the incident), no firearms, etc. If you have more than one conviction, or if the facts of your particular domestic assault allegation are particularly harsh, you should call us immediately at (248) 763-0641 because you may be facing a different outcome.
Finally, I want to be clear about one last domestic assault matter in this post: don’t confuse a domestic assault charge with a domestic assault conviction! If you are only charged with domestic assault (also called domestic violence), that is the same thing as saying that someone has accused you of committing the crime. It means that formal domestic assault proceedings have been started in the District Court where the alleged incident happened. Under the Constitution, you are presumed innocent (in other words, you ARE innocent) of domestic assault until you are convicted of domestic assault. Only people who are actually convicted of domestic assault (either because they have plead guilty or have been found guilty after a trial) must face a domestic assault sentencing.
My point: don’t start at the end! Hiring the right Michigan domestic assault attorney can prevent you from being convicted of domestic assault in the first place. At The Law Office of Brian J. Prain, PLLC, we believe in your innocence despite your domestic assault charge, and you should, too. Don’t face your domestic assault charge until you give us a call – the call and consultation are free, even if you decide not to hire us.