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Michigan Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer Explains When Domestic Violence Can Be a Felony With Possible Prison Time in Michigan.
As a Michigan Domestic Violence Lawyer, I am often asked the question: “is Domestic Violence a Felony in Michigan?” The simple answer is “it depends.” As a general rule, a Felony carries a maximum possible penalty of more than 1 year in State Prison. A Misdemeanor carries maximum possible penalty of up to 1 year in the County Jail. Usually, a Michigan Domestic Violence charge (also called a Domestic Assault charge) is not a Felony, but is a Misdemeanor with a sentence of up to 93 days in Jail and/or a $500.00 fine (plus many other costs) for a first Domestic Violence conviction. But under certain circumstances, a Michigan Domestic Violence charge can be a Felony, and the possible penalty is UP TO 5 YEARS IN PRISON AND/OR A $5,000.00 FINE BEGINNING APRIL 1, 2013. Here is an overview of those specific situations:
- Your Michigan Domestic Violence charge can turn into a Felony if your case started out as a typical Misdemeanor Domestic Violence charge, but based on new evidence, the charge is increased to any of a number of Felony assaultive crimes.
- Your Michigan Domestic Violence charge is a Felony if you have already been convicted of Domestic Violence 2 or more times in the past. It doesn’t matter how long ago the past Domestic Violence convictions happened, or what State they happened in. Beginning April 1, 2013, it also doesn’t matter if one of your previous Michigan Domestic Violence charges was dismissed under MCL 769.4a, the Michigan Domestic Violence Deferral – even that counts as a previous conviction.
- Your Michigan Domestic Violence charge is a Felony if you have already been convicted 2 or more times of any combination of the following offenses: Domestic Violence, Aggravated Domestic Violence, Felonious Assault, Assault With Intent to Commit Murder, Assault With Intent to do Great Bodily Harm Less Than Murder, or Assault With Intent to Maim against someone who could be considered a Complainant in a Michigan Domestic Violence case. It does not matter whether the previous convictions were from Michigan, out-of-state (under a “substantially corresponding” law), or a combination of both. It does not matter how long ago the prior convictions occurred. Beginning April 1, 2013, it does not matter if a prior Michigan Domestic Violence or Michigan Aggravated Domestic Violence charge was dismissed under MCL 769.4a – even that counts as a prior conviction. Note that if any of your priors were Felonies, your possible maximum Prison sentence dramatically increases upward from 5 years, as you will certainly be charged as a 2nd or 3rd Habitual Offender.
- Your Michigan Domestic Violence charge is a Felony if your new case is for Aggravated Domestic Violence and you have already been convicted only 1 or more times (1, NOT 2) of any of the same crimes as listed in the paragraph above. The same exact rules apply, including application of previous dismissals under MCL 769.4a, the Michigan Domestic Violence Deferral and Habitual Offender status.
If you are facing a Michigan Domestic Violence charge or Aggravated Domestic Violence charge, you have probably wondered “is Domestic Violence a Felony in Michigan? For more information and a free, face-to-face consultation, contact The Law Office of Brian J. Prain, PLLC, your Michigan Domestic Violence Lawyer immediately at (248) 763-0641. Or, you can e-mail us confidentially on our website at www.michiganassaultandbatteryattorney.com. Don’t delay – a quick response can save your freedom and your future!