Is TV to Blame for Your Domestic Violence Charge?

Domestic Violence tears Michigan families apart - period. Whether you are a man or a woman, once you face domestic violence charges in Michigan courts, there just may be no turning back. And please, do not think that by attacking the way domestic violence cases are approached, I am taking a stance against women. We love and respect women. In reality, our experience has been that there is no one gender, age, or race group that is the stereotypical "offender." In fact, many domestic violence charges are sought by children against their parents, and vice-versa. Part of the problem has to do with confusion between what domestic violence is legally versus what "domestic violence" is portrayed as in the media. While the Michigan domestic violence laws leave much to be desired, there certainly is a distinction between what the law says constitutes domestic violence and what the media says constitutes domestic violence. Both the Michigan State Police and the Oprah Winfrey Show have published information that could really confuse things. This is not to say that things like anger, control, insults, degradation, and the like are not extremely serious family issues that absolutely MUST be fixed, if not just for the sake of the children. But depending on the specific issues, the solution might properly belong in counseling, the Family Division of the Circuit Court, or elsewhere outside of Michigan's Criminal Courts where someone is facing serious consequences. We all have a right not to be charged with domestic violence unless there is probable cause to believe that the State of Michigan can prove that we committed each of it's elements, and we have a right not to be convicted of domestic violence unless the State of Michigan can prove each of it's elements beyond a reasonable doubt. The problem goes something like this:
  • A popular TV show aimed at preventing "domestic violence" airs.
  • The TV show, while targeting "domestic violence," talks about things (such as anger issues, control issues, etc.) that are indeed oppressive and constitute abuse, but are nevertheless certainly far from the LEGAL definition of the crime of domestic violence.
  • A viewer of the show who believes he or she has been oppressed or abused (but who legally has not actually experienced domestic violence under Michigan law) begins to develop a mentality that they will call the police the next time a particular person makes them feel this way.
  • A heated argument develops, and they decide to call the police. The police arrive, and that particular person is arrested based on a preliminary, prefunctory investigation.
  • The alleged offender waits in Jail to be arraigned because of special rules for domestic violence in Michigan. He or she is informed that domestic violence charges will be brought, and that the Court will be involved. A No Contact Order is signed by a Michigan District Court Judge. Now these two people cannot even live in the home together, or even talk over the phone.
  • Realizing that the seroiusness of the criminal domestic violence charge far outweighs the intensity of the heated argument, the would-be victim begins to tell the police and the Prosecuting Attorney that he or she "doesn't want to press charges," and "just wants the whole thing to go away so the family can be together again," etc.
  • Unfortunately, the Prosecuting Attorney claims that the domestic violence charges must remain; there's "nothing they can do."
Does this scenario sound familiar? Does it sound fair? As a child who grew-up in a good family whose parents happened to have a lot of arguments, I know that accusations can get exaggerated in the heat of the moment. Does your Michigan Domestic Violence Attorney intimately understand this chain of events? Is he or she prepared to tell the whole story to a Judge or Jury? If you aren't sure, ask them! If not, you need to consider what is at stake for you...
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