Felonious Assault Charges: Does Self-Defense Apply?

Felonious Assault (Assault With a Dangerous Weapon) Charges are Serious, But When Can You Claim Self-Defense?

Felonious Assault Charges in Michigan (properly called Assault With a Dangerous Weapon), under MCL 750.82, can carry up to 4 years in Prison for a 1st offense and even more if you are charged as an Habitual Offender. But believe it or not, all it takes for you to be charged by the Prosecutors is for someone to merely accuse you of Felonious Assault. But don't plead guilty! Even if you did possess a "dangerous weapon," you may be legally entitled to claim Self-Defense. Here is how it works . . . If you are facing Michigan Felonious Assault charges, a finding by a Judge or Jury that you acted in Self-Defense will result in a verdict of NOT GUILTY! IF you wish to claim Self-Defense, the following rules apply:
  1. At the time, you must not have been engaged in the commission of a crime. For example, a person who breaks and enters into someone's home with a dangerous weapon cannot claim Self-Defense if they are also charged for conduct that occurs in the home.
  2. You must have honestly and reasonably believed that you had to use force to protect yourself from the imminent unlawful use of force by another person. If the Judge or Jury finds that you belief was honest and reasonable, you were allowed to act at once to present the weapon in defense of yourself, even if it turns out later that you were wrong about how much danger youwere in.
  3. You can only use as much "force" as necessary. The Judge or Jury is allowed to consider whether you knew of other ways to defend yourself (i.e. running away, etc.). However, the Judge or Jury looks at this through YOUR eyes, and is allowed to consider how the excitement of the moment may have affected you even if they believe you overreacted. Anyways, Felonious Assault charges in Michigan do not typically involve actual "force.
  4. You can only present the weapon in your defense for as long as it is necessary to protect yourself.
  5. You must not have acted wrongfully and brought on the attack from the other person. However, your words alone are not enough for a Judge or Jury to find that you "acted wrongfully" and therefore convict you of this crime.
Still reading? You could be talking to an experienced Michigan Felonious Assault Lawyer instead! Get real answers to your unique questions by calling Prain Law, PLLC​ anytime at (248) 731-4543. Or, fill out the Contact Form.
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