PrainLaw, PLLC, headed by attorney Brian J. Prain, is a Criminal Defense firm that concentrates specifically on defending those accused of Michigan Assault charges, including Assault With Intent to Commit Murder (also referred to as just “Assault With Intent to Murder” or “AWIM” for short). At PrainLaw, PLLC, we often hear the question “What is Assault With Intent to Murder in Michigan?”
Short of an actual Murder or Manslaughter charge, Assault With Intent to Murder charges are about as serious as it gets in Michigan. The Michigan Assault With Intent to Commit Murder law, MCL 750.83, says:
“Any person who shall assault another with intent to commit the crime of murder, shall be guilty of a felony, punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for life or any number of years.”
The At an AWIM trial, the Prosecution must prove an assault including all of the following beyond a reasonable doubt:
First, that you tried to physically injure another person.
Second, that when you committed the Assault, you had the ability to cause an injury, or at least believed that you had the ability.
Third, that you had the specific intent to KILL the person, and the circumstances did not legally excuse or reduce the crime (i.e. Self-Defense). It is NOT enough to show you merely intended to cause great bodily harm (the standard for Assault With Intent to do Great Bodily Harm in Michigan), or a wanton and willful disregard of the likelihood that the natural tendency of an action is to cause death or great bodily harm (the Standard for Second Degree Murder in Michigan).
Perhaps the most important thing for you to understand is that in order to be guilty of Assault With Intent to Murder in Michigan, the other person DOES NOT need to be killed, injured, or even touched at all! The typical Michigan AWIM charge involves the accused allegedly shooting a firearm at the alleged victim and missing or hitting them and not killing them.
An Assault in Michigan can be either 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).
Because Assault With Intent to Commit Murder is such a serious criminal charge in Michigan, if the incident allegedly involves any type of Firearm, you will almost certainly be charged with Felony Firearm as well. The Michigan Felony Firearm law, MCL 750.227b, is actually called “Carrying or Possessing Firearm When Committing or Attempting to Commit Felony.” The Michigan Felony Firearm law says:
“A person who carries or has in his or her possession a firearm when he or she commits or attempts to commit a felony, except a violation of section 223, section 227, 227a or 230, is guilty of a felony, and shall be imprisoned for 2 years. Upon a second conviction under this section, the person shall be imprisoned for 5 years. Upon a third or subsequent conviction under this subsection, the person shall be imprisoned for 10 years.”
A conviction for Felony Firearm means MANDATORY 2 years in State Prison in addition to to any time served on other charges – Sentencing Guidelines don’t even apply, and even if the Judge wanted to give you a lighter Sentence, they cannot. The worst part is you don’t even have to be convicted of the AWIM to be convicted of the Felony Firearm and get the mandatory 2 years. This is an extremely harsh law that defies logic! You’ll need the best legal representation you can get to avoid this tragic possibility.
Yes. The Self-Defense laws apply to Michigan Assault With Intent to Commit Murder charges under MCL 750.83 just like any other charge. Every person, man, woman or child, has a right to use reasonable force to defend themselves or another person against the use or threat of unlawful deadly physical force against them. In-fact, there is a Michigan Self-Defense Act, MCL 780.972 and a very good standard Self-Defense Jury Instruction to go along with it. Michigan has a great Self-Defense law that even gives you a better chance there was past violence by your alleged victim.
In order to claim Self-Defense to a charge of Assault With Intent to Commit Murder in Michigan, you must “honestly and reasonably believe that the use of deadly force is necessary” to prevent one of the following from happening to yourself or another person:
a) imminent Death or Great Bodily Harm; or
b) Sexual Assault.
Mitigating circumstances are things that would either legally excuse or reduce the crime of Assault With Intent to Murder (AWIM). The Michigan AWIM law says you can only be guilty if you could have been guilty of Murder if the person actually died. If there was a death, but under the facts you could have only been guilty of Manslaughter, you CANNOT be guilty of Assault With Intent to Commit Murder. Voluntary Manslaughter basically means that your thinking was disturbed by emotional excitement that would cause an ordinary person to act on impulse without thinking twice, and that you acted before you had the chance to calm down from that excitement (a “heat of passion” killing).
Although we hate to say it, if you are convicted of Assault With Intent to Commit Murder in Michigan under MCL 750.83, you are going away to State Prison for a long time. Remember, even if you are found Not Guilty of the AWIM charge, you can still spend 2 years in Prison for Felony Firearm.