Is Domestic Violence Felony or Misdemeanor In Michigan?

Here is one of the most common questions I receive: "is Domestic Violence a Misdemeanor or Felony?" Answer: in Michigan, it can be either. Domestic Violence is also called "Domestic Assault." Here is a no-nonsense test to figure out whether you're facing a Domestic Violence Felony or Domestic Violence Misdemeanor:
  • A Domestic Violence Felony is punishable by up to 5 years in Prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000. If you have been arraigned and the judge or magistrate spoke about "Prison" rather than "Jail," you may be facing a Domestic Violence Felony.
  • If you are charged with a Domestic Violence Felony, your next Court appearance after the Arraignment will be either a "Pre-Exam Conference" or a "Preliminary Exam." Domestic Violence Misdemeanors don't have these hearings; rather, the next Court date is called a "Pretrial Conference" or just "Pretrial." Check your Court paperwork for the Notice to Appear.
  • If you have never been charged with or convicted of any crime of Domestic Violence before, you're probably facing a Misdemeanor, rather than a Felony Domestic Violence. Under MCL 750.81(4) and MCL 750.81a(3), a conviction for a Michigan Domestic Violence Felony requires either:
    • 2 or more prior Domestic Violence convictions and the new charge is NOT Aggravated Domestic Violence; or
    • 1 or more prior Domestic Violence convictions (including certain Felonies that do not actually have the title "Domestic Violence") and the new charge is for Aggravated Domestic Violence. (Aggravated Domestic Violence is a Misdemeanor in Michigan, but the possible Jail time is increased due to the alleged infliction of injury).
The true nature of the answer to " is Domestic Violence a Misdemeanor or Felony?" is beyond the scope of this blog article. For example, if there is an alleged injury involved, you may be charged with a Felony that does not actually use the name "Domestic Violence," such as Assault With Intent to do Great Bodily Harm Less Than Murder or others. If you are facing a Domestic Violence Felony or Misdemeanor, call The Law Office of Brian J. Prain, PLLC, your Michigan Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer anytime at (248) 731-4543. Chances are, we've already dealt with the unique issues in your Domestic Violence case that are keeping you up at night with anxiety. Don't feel like talking right now? Fill out the Contact Form 
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