According to the statute, MCL 750.82, and the standard Jury Instruction for this crime, M Crim JI 17.9, the correct term is Assault With a Dangerous Weapon. However, it is most commonly called Felonious Assault for short. We use both terms interchangeably; they are the same exact crime under MCL 750.82.
Because PrainLaw, PLLC is a Criminal Defense firm that concentrates on defending Michigan Assault charges, we often hear the question “What is Felonious Assault in Michigan?” Felonious Assault charges under MCL 750.82 are sought when one allegedly “assaults another person with a gun, revolver, pistol, knife, iron bar, club, brass knuckles, or other dangerous weapon without intending to commit murder or to inflict great bodily harm less than murder.”
As its name suggests, Felonious Assault (“Assault With a Dangerous Weapon”) in Michigan is a felony “punishable by imprisonment for not more than 4 years or a fine of not more than $2,000.00, or both.”
In Michigan, an Assault in Michigan can be one of two things:
a) an unsuccessful attempt to commit a battery (i.e. a swing and a miss); or
b) any act that would cause a reasonable person to fear or apprehend an immediate battery (i.e. a fake slap to make someone flinch, but without actually touching them).
In Michigan, a Felonious Assault must be intentional (and not accidental), even though actual touching is not necessary. The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you either have intended either to injure the alleged victim or to make the alleged victim reasonably fear an immediate battery.
The prosecutor also must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you had the ability to commit a Battery, appeared to have the ability, or thought you had that ability.
As used in the definition of Felonious Assault (Assault With a Dangerous Weapon), the term “other dangerous weapon” means “any object that is used in a way that is likely to cause serious physical injury or death.”
Some things like guns, knives, brass knuckles, and other typical weapons obviously would meet the definition of “dangerous weapon.” But even something designed for a completely peaceful purpose can be a “dangerous weapon” if it is used or intended to be used in a way likely to cause serious physical injury or death. A common example is a car or glass bottle. When there is a question as to whether or not something like this is a “dangerous weapon,” it is up to a Jury to decide.
If you are convicted of Felonious Assault in Michigan under MCL 750.82, and you have never been convicted of a Felony before, you are guilty of a Felony punishable by “imprisonment for not more than 4 years or a fine of not more than $2,000.00, or both.”
The penalties are increased even more if you are charged as an “Habitual Offender.”
A person convicted (and only if convicted) of Felonious Assault in Michigan can spend up to 4 years in Prison if they are not charged as an Habitual Offender. Whether or not you will actually receive Jail or Prison time in your Felonious Assault case depends on the severity of your alleged actions, how your Felonious Assault charges are defended, and the effectiveness of your attorney.
If you are facing a Felonious Assault charge in Michigan, your actual possible range of incarceration time will be calculated under the Michigan Sentencing Guidelines. Your Guidelines need to be scored at the start of your case, not at the end when it’s too late (like many lawyers do).
Here’s the bottom-line: instead of focusing on how much Jail or Prison time you could get, why not focus on being found NOT GUILTY?
If a person commits Felonious Assault in Michigan in violation of MCL 750.82 in a Weapon Free School Zone, the penalties are increased. The maximum Prison sentence is still 4 years, but the maximum fine is increased to $6,000.00, and the law explicitly says the Court can order “Community service for not more than 150 hours.”