Michigan Aggravated Assault: What Type of Injury?

undefinedMichigan Aggravated Assault Charges are Different Because There Must be a "Serious or Aggravated Injury," But What Exactly is That? Brian J. Prain Explains...

The Michigan Aggravated Assault law is contained in MCL 750.81a.  This statute, setting forth the basis for Michigan Aggravated Assault charges, reads as follows:

"Except as otherwise provided in this section, a person who assaults an individual without a weapon and inflicts serious or aggravated injury upon that individual without intending to commit murder or to inflict great bodily harm less than murder is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 1 year or a fine of not more than $1,000.00, or both."

As you can see, the Michigan Aggravated Assault law is poorly defined - it does not even define what an "assault" or "serious or aggravated injury" are.  If you are facing a Michigan Aggravated Assault charge, the best way for you to fully understand the Michigan Aggravated Assault statute is to look at the Model Criminal Jury Instruction.  For almost every crime in Michigan, there is a Standard Jury Instruction published.

The Jury Instruction is designed to take a criminal statute and break it down into each of the specific "elements" that the Prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt.  In short, the Jury Instruction is intended to re-state the law in plain English so that lay persons can understand it.  In-fact, if you were to take your Michigan Aggravated Assault charge to Trial, this Jury Instruction is the exact version of the law that the Jury would take to the Jury room to decide your fate.  The number one factor that distinguishes a Michigan Aggravated Assault charge from all other Assault charges is the requirement of a "serious or aggravated injury."  Let's look at the exact Instruction a Jury would see in a Trial to help us understand what qualifies as a "serious or aggravated injury"...

"(1) The defendant is charged with the crime of Michigan Aggravated Assault (also called "Assault and Infliction of Serious Injury"). To prove this charge, the prosecutor must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

(2) First, that the defendant tried to physically injure another person.

(3) Second, that the defendant intended to injure the Complainant or intended to make the Complainant reasonably fear an immediate battery.

(4) Third, that the assault caused a serious or aggravated injury. A serious or aggravated injury is a physical injury that requires immediate medical treatment or that causes disfigurement, impairment of health, or impairment of a part of the body."

As you can see, the "serious or aggravated injury" element of a Michigan Aggravated Assault charge is satisfied in any one of four ways: 1) the injury required immediate medical treatment; 2) it caused disfigurement; 3) it caused impairment of health; or 4) it caused impairment of a part of the body.  Note that the case law holds that the Prosecution does NOT have to introduce the testimony of a medical professional or expert to substantiate the degree or nature of the injury.

A few other aspects of the Michigan Aggravated Assault law should be noted: a) the Prosecution must prove that you actually tried to physically injure another person; b) it is insufficient to convict you, in that you may have simply touched someone without intending to hurt them; but c) on the other hand, as long as the Prosecution can introduce evidence of your intent to hurt the other person, no actual touching is necessary.

Still confused about the Michigan Aggravated Assault law?  There's good reason for that; it's a confusing law!  Prain Law, PLLC limits its practice exclusively to Criminal Defense, and within that category, to defending those charged with Michigan Assault charges.  If you're still reading, why not call Prain Law right now at (248) 731-4543 and speak to a Michigan Aggravated Assault lawyer.  Or, fill out the e-mail Contact Form

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