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Michigan Felony Assault Lawyer

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What is the correct name in Michigan: “Felonious Assault” or “Assault With a Dangerous Weapon”?

What is the Michigan Felonious Assault law? MCL 750.82

According to the statute, MCL 750.82, and the standard Jury Instruction for this crime, M Crim JI 17.9, the correct term is Assault With a Dangerous Weapon. However, it is most commonly called Felonious Assault for short. We use both terms interchangeably; they are the same exact crime under MCL 750.82.

RELATED: Read about the most recent Felonious Assault NOT GUILTY verdict for Michigan Assault lawyer Brian J. Prain.

What is Felonious Assault in Michigan? How is Michigan Felonious Assault Defined?

Because Prain Law, PLLC is a Criminal Defense firm that concentrates on defending Michigan Assault charges, we often hear the question “What is Felonious Assault in Michigan?” Felonious Assault charges under MCL 750.82 are sought when one allegedly “assaults another person with a gun, revolver, pistol, knife, iron bar, club, brass knuckles, or another dangerous weapon without intending to commit murder or to inflict great bodily harm less than murder.”

As its name suggests, Felonious Assault (“Assault With a Dangerous Weapon”) in Michigan is a felony “punishable by imprisonment for not more than 4 years or a fine of not more than $2,000.00, or both.

In the definition of Felonious Assault in Michigan, what does “Assault” mean?

In Michigan, an Assault in Michigan can be one of two things:

a) an unsuccessful attempt to commit a battery (i.e. a swing and a miss); or

b) any act that would cause a reasonable person to fear or apprehend an immediate battery (i.e. a fake slap to make someone flinch, but without actually touching them).

CLICK HERE for the definition of Battery in Michigan

In Michigan, a Felonious Assault must be intentional (and not accidental), even though actual touching is not necessary. The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you either have intended either to injure the alleged victim or to make the alleged victim reasonably fear an immediate battery.

The prosecutor also must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you had the ability to commit a Battery, appeared to have the ability, or thought you had that ability.

What is the definition of “other dangerous weapon” in Michigan? Can a person even commit Felonious Assault with a car?

As used in the definition of Felonious Assault (Assault With a Dangerous Weapon), the term “other dangerous weapon” means “any object that is used in a way that is likely to cause serious physical injury or death.”

Some things like guns, knives, brass knuckles, and other typical weapons obviously would meet the definition of “dangerous weapon.” But even something designed for a completely peaceful purpose can be a “dangerous weapon” if it is used or intended to be used in a way likely to cause serious physical injury or death. A common example is a car or glass bottle. When there is a question as to whether or not something like this is a “dangerous weapon,” it is up to a Jury to decide.

What is the Sentence for Felonious Assault (Assault With a Dangerous Weapon) in Michigan? Will I go to Jail for Felonious Assault?

If you are convicted of Felonious Assault in Michigan under MCL 750.82, and you have never been convicted of a Felony before, you are guilty of a Felony punishable by “imprisonment for not more than 4 years or a fine of not more than $2,000.00, or both.

The penalties are increased even more if you are charged as a “Habitual Offender.”

A person convicted (and only if convicted) of Felonious Assault in Michigan can spend up to 4 years in Prison if they are not charged as a Habitual Offender. Whether or not you will actually receive Jail or Prison time in your Felonious Assault case depends on the severity of your alleged actions, how your Felonious Assault charges are defended, and the effectiveness of your attorney.

If you are facing a Felonious Assault charge in Michigan, your actual possible range of incarceration time will be calculated under the Michigan Sentencing Guidelines. Your Guidelines need to be scored at the start of your case, not at the end when it’s too late (like many lawyers do).

CLICK HERE for more information on Michigan Felonious Assault Sentencing and Sentencing Guidelines

Here’s the bottom-line: instead of focusing on how much Jail or Prison time you could get, why not focus on being found NOT GUILTY?

What if a Michigan Felonious Assault is committed in a Weapon Free School Zone?

If a person commits Felonious Assault in Michigan in violation of MCL 750.82 in a Weapon Free School Zone, the penalties are increased. The maximum Prison sentence is still 4 years, but the maximum fine is increased to $6,000.00, and the law explicitly says the Court can order “Community service for not more than 150 hours.”

Assault with a Dangerous Weapon

Felonious Assault is a serious crime that could impact the rest of your life unless you have a qualified Michigan Assault and Battery Attorney.

A sentence of up to 4 years in prison and as much as $2,000.00 in fines for an assault with a dangerous weapon (also called “felonious assault”) conviction is a massive leap from the maximum of 93 days in county jail for a simple assault conviction. The only difference is the use of what the Michigan felonious assault law defines as a dangerous weapon. This minuscule difference is apparent when you know a pillow, or even a teddy bear is enough to meet that “dangerous weapon” definition under the Michigan felonious assault law. If you are charged as a Habitual Offender, the story gets even worse.

The Michigan assault with a dangerous weapon law is a very complex law made up of many small parts that come together to have a devastating impact. As the famous expression goes “the whole is more than the sum of its parts”; each element that the government must prove is broadly defined and relatively easy to apply to a wide range of situations.

As an example, under the Michigan assault law, an “assault” is nothing more than an unsuccessful attempt to touch someone in a harmful or offensive way, or an action that makes a person believe you are going to touch them in that way. No actual touching is required. You can easily see how a rather insignificant series of events, combined with an accuser who has a motivation to make your life an anxious hell and a little help from an overzealous prosecutor can add up to leave you wondering how you arrived at this place in life.

Even if the prosecutor knows that the evidence against you is weak, he or she still has a boss at the prosecutor’s office, and that boss needs to be impressed. As a result, you can be certain that the prosecutor will be examining the details of your personal history with a fine-toothed comb, looking for anyone else who might like to come forward and claim that you assaulted or battered them in the past.

Normally, this type of evidence is not allowed against you in Court because it is widely recognized that the trustworthiness of this evidence is highly suspect, and having the Judge or Jury hear about it can easily get you convicted although it has nothing to do with the new accusation you’re fighting. But even if this alleged incident happened long ago and was never even reported to police nor resulted in any criminal charges, Michigan law contains a special rule that allows an enemy of yours to march right into court and testify you assaulted or battered them years ago. There are ways to keep this evidence out of Court, but many attorneys are simply unaware of them, or completely fail to assert these vital challenges.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If the “weapon” you are accused of using happens to be a sharp object, then you must contact a Michigan assault attorney immediately, as your charges could be increased to assault with intent to maim, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in state prison and up to $5,000.00 in fines (see below).

Making you appear to be guilty can be an easy task for the prosecuting attorney, especially if your felonious assault attorney fails to take the necessary time to know and understand every single little fact, and fails to even consider the important step of visiting the scene himself. By hiring The Law Office of Brian J. Prain, PLLC, you are guaranteeing that your felonious assault attorney is going to learn every fact and detail of your case, take the time to learn who you are as a person, file every motion, make every evidentiary challenge, and do everything humanly possible to eliminate or defeat your felonious assault charge and protect your freedom, your future, and your peace of mind.

**IMPORTANT NOTE: A Michigan Felonious Assault charge also increases the chances you may be sued in civil court.**

Contact Our Detroit Criminal Defense Attorney Today

Prain Law, PLLC, is led by a Detroit criminal defense lawyer who will do everything in his power to offer you the top-rated legal services you deserve. Our legal team’s main priority is helping you come back from what is an undeniably challenging criminal charge to face. Allow us to advocate on your behalf in an effort to ensure your freedom and future are not put at stake for the rest of your life.


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Contact us at your earliest convenience by calling (248) 731-4543.

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