MCL 750.84, the Michigan law on Assault With Intent to do Great Bodily Harm Less Than Murder (called “Assault GBH” for short), says a person who “assaults another person with intent to do great bodily harm, less than the crime of murder” is guilty of a felony “punishable by imprisonment for not more than 10 years or a fine of not more than $5,000.00, or both.”
Michigan criminal defense lawyer Brian J. Prain of PrainLaw, PLLC specifically concentrates on defending those accused of Michigan assault crimes, including Michigan Assault GBH. The easiest way to explain Assault GBH in Michigan is that it’s an assault where the intent is to cause more than just the “Serious or Aggravated Injury” of an Aggravated Assault and rising all the way to the level of “Great Bodily Harm.”
At trial on a charge of Assault With Intent to do Great Bodily Harm Less Than Murder, the Prosecution must prove the following beyond a reasonable doubt:
First, that you tried to physically injure another person.
Second, that at the time, you actually had the ability to cause an injury, or at least believed you had the ability.
Third, that the you intended to cause Great Bodily Harm. Actual injury is not necessary, but if there was an injury, you may consider it as evidence in deciding whether the defendant intended to cause great bodily harm.
At PrainLaw, PLLC, we are often asked: “What is the definition of Great Bodily Harm in Michigan?” “Great Bodily Harm” means any physical injury that could seriously harm the health or function of the body.
There’s a big, big difference between a misdemeanor Aggravated Assault with a maximum penalty of up to 1 year in Jail and a felony Assault With Intent to do Great Bodily Harm Less Than Murder with a maximum penalty of up to 10 years in State Prison. Yet there doesn’t seem to be a big difference between the types of cases and injuries. It can be hard to tell whether an assault causing injury will be charged as Aggravated Assault or Assault GBH. It seems backwards, but the misdemeanor Aggravated Assault requires an injury, but the 10 year felony Assault With Intent to do Great Bodily Harm Less Than Murder requires no injury at all.
At PrainLaw, PLLC, we have had clients accused of breaking limbs requiring surgery who were charged with misdemeanor Aggravated Assault, while other clients accused of causing a black eye have been charged with the very serious felony Assault With Intent to do Great Bodily Harm Less Than Murder. Our experience has revealed two reasons why people get charged with the 10 year felony: 1) extensive criminal histories; and 2) domestic situations.
Yes. There are three unique factors that will affect you.
First, you must understand that at Arraignment, the Court will impose a Bond condition called a No Contact Order. You will not be allowed to have ANY contact with this person (in-person, phone, text, e-mail, social media) during your case and perhaps long after if you are convicted of Assault GBH. This is just like in a Domestic Violence charge. You can make a Motion to remove the No Contact Order, but that is very hard in a serious felony case like this. If you live with that person, one of you will need to temporarily move-out. If you violate a No Contact Order in Michigan and the Court finds-out, plan on going to Jail.
Second, your past can be used against you, just like in a Domestic Violence case. Normally, things you’ve supposedly done in the past can’t be used against you at trial. This is called character evidence. But under Michigan law, MCL 768.27b, the Prosecution can attempt to use past alleged acts against you to claim that you are violent. This is true even if it is a complete lie and the Police were never even called. Michigan Felony Assault lawyer Brian J. Prain knows how to successfully fight this “evidence” from coming in, and how to balance it by exercising your right to call character witnesses.
Third, even if you have never been convicted of an “assaultive crime” in the past, where the charge is as serious as Assault With Intent to do Great Bodily Harm Less Than Murder, you are not eligible for the Michigan Domestic Violence Deferral under MCL 769.4a (also referred to as the “Spouse Abuse Act”).
If you are convicted of Assault With Intent to do Great Bodily Harm Less Than Murder in Michigan under MCL 750.84, and you have never been convicted of a Felony before, you are guilty of a Felony punishable by “imprisonment for not more than 10 years or a fine of not more than $5,000.00, or both.”
The penalties are even more severe if you are charged as an “Habitual Offender,” including up to LIFE in Prison.
When a person faces an Assault GBH charge, the possibility of Jail or Prison is quite a realistic possibility. Assault GBH is where Michigan assault cases get serious. 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 (this is what inexperienced Assault 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?
**IMPORTANT NOTE: being accused of a Michigan Aggravated Assault charge also increases the chances you may be sued in civil court.**
If you are convicted, you will also be ordered to pay your accuser’s medical expenses. This is called “crime victim restitution.”