Domestic violence is treated very seriously in Michigan, and prosecutors aggressively pursue significant penalties. Mere allegations of criminal wrongdoing can damage an individual’s reputation and tarnish his or her personal and professional relationships. A criminal conviction may leave that same individual with jail time, community service and fines. A restraining order may be enacted against an accused individual, disallowing him or her from seeing his or her spouse or other family members. Additionally, a domestic dispute may become a major factor in divorce and child custody matters.
Michigan’s Domestic Violence Prevention and Treatment Act covers acts of violence, attempts at violence, threats of violence and other aggressive acts when the people involved are spouses, ex-spouses, in a dating relationship or former dating relationship, have a child together or live in the same household. The statute of limitations on crimes falling under the act is six years, which means that people can be convicted of criminal charges over incidents that happened years before.
Those who allege that they were the victims of domestic violence may ask for temporary or permanent restraining orders, which can seriously affect the accused person’s freedom. In addition to any criminal proceedings against the accused, the alleged victims may also file civil lawsuits against the accused or cite evidence of domestic violence to the court when it is deciding on child custody matters.
It is imperative that Michigan residents who are facing domestic violence charges consider contacting an experienced criminal defense attorney. Attorneys with experience in these sensitive matters can assess the circumstances of the case to help the accused decide on a strategy for dealing with the charges. This may mean entering into plea negotiations, where lesser penalties may be obtained, or taking the matter to court to fight for an acquittal. In either case, a strong criminal defense can be pivotal to reaching a fair outcome.
Source: FindLaw, “Michigan Domestic Violence Laws,” accessed on Jan. 3, 2015