Domestic Violence First Offense in Michigan
Being charged with first offense domestic violence in Michigan can be frightening and frustrating. Judges and prosecutors will assume you are guilty before you even walk into the courthouse.
Accused of First Offense Domestic Violence
In Michigan, circumstances that might cause someone to face first-offense domestic violence allegations are often complicated. When someone calls 911 to report a domestic violence complaint, the police generally have a policy that someone must go to jail. One of the many problems with this type of policy is that police often feel justified or pressured into exaggerating evidence to justify the arrest, even when it is unclear that the defendant committed a crime.
In first-offense situations, the individuals frequently have little experience with law enforcement and mistakenly make statements later used against them in court. Worst of all, some people believe that if they take responsibility and admit they made a mistake, the police or court will go easier on them. In reality, judges and prosecutors are often more strict with individuals when admissions occur.
The fact is that a defendant can avoid jail and a conviction for a first offense domestic violence in Michigan if a skilled and experienced lawyer is used to defend the charges. A defendant can avoid incarceration where the allegations are false or exaggerated and in cases where the accusation is true. The only way to know your options is to have a free and confidential consultation with a domestic violence defense attorney.
“Can you go to jail for domestic violence first offense?”
Individuals charged with domestic violence 1st frequently want to know, “how much time for domestic violence?” or “am I going to jail for domestic violence?” The maximum sentence for a first-time offense domestic violence is 93 days in jail. If there is an injury, the maximum penalty increases to 1 year. Although jail is possible, few judges impose jail for a first domestic violence offense. Jail is NOT mandatory. A savvy, proficient defense lawyer will know how to make a strategic, compelling, and narrowly tailored argument to convince the judge not to impose jail time. Every case is different, and a successful lawyer will know how to customize their sentencing argument to be most effective for each specific case.
Domestic violence cases involve a special relationship between the accused and the victim.
Under Michigan law, domestic violence is an assault or assault and battery committed against a person’s current or former spouse, a person who formerly or currently resides in the same home, someone with a child in common, or someone with whom they had a dating relationship.
The most common types of relationships in domestic violence cases are:
- formerly married
Common Questions in First Offense Domestic Violence in Michigan
What if the victim doesn’t show up for court?
If the complainant or victim does not show up, the prosecutor may request a material witness warrant for that person’s arrest. Various prosecutors handle these situations differently. However, laws in Michigan allow the prosecutor to use the victim’s statements to the police to prove a case; a skilled defense attorney will know how to stop the prosecutor by utilizing federal and constitutional law, specifically, the Confrontation Clause of the United States Constitution. A lawyer may get the charges dismissed if a victim does not show up for trial.
How much time will I get for domestic violence first offense?
You do not have to do any time in jail for domestic violence in Michigan for a first offense. The maximum sentence is 93 days, but there is no minimum sentence. Every case is different; however, a skilled, experienced attorney gives you the best chance of avoiding jail time.
What if the victim or complainant wants to “drop the charges”?
A victim cannot “drop charges” in Michigan because that person does not bring the charges in the first place. The police and prosecutors start the charges, and the victim is considered a witness, not a party. A prosecutor may consider or disregard the wishes of the victim. In most cases, letters or pleas to the prosecutor to “drop charges” generally backfire and make it more challenging to get the charges dismissed.
Is there a defense to first-offense domestic violence?
Yes! There are many defenses to first-offense domestic violence, including mistake, self-defense, alibi, and claiming the charges are false or fabricated. In many cases, complainants fabricate allegations to gain an advantage in a divorce, with custody, obtain possession of a home, or get money. These ulterior motives can help bolster a strong defense. Most defense lawyers manipulate even innocent clients into pleading guilty because they fear taking a case to trial or pushing for a dismissal. The defense lawyers with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. are not afraid to win!
What is the usual sentence for first-offense domestic violence?
Jail is always possible, and the lawyer’s job is to convince a judge not to incarcerate their client. Judges order probation as part of a sentence in almost all cases and frequently include therapy, community service, education, drug, and alcohol testing, a prohibition against firearms, and more. The best way to minimize probation conditions and the length of probation is by proactive legal preparation, even before charges are issued. With the help of an expert attorney, the accused can show the judge that they were working to improve themselves even before a case goes to court. Failing to work with an attorney on a pre-charge basis is a lost opportunity to proactively increase the odds of a favorable outcome.
A skilled domestic violence defense lawyer will know the most compelling ways to convince a judge to accept a first-offense domestic abuse charge under advisement. Hence, the defendant keeps the conviction off their record and stays out of jail.
Can I get probation for domestic violence?
Yes, you can get probation for a domestic violence first offense. Michigan law allows a judge to take a plea under advisement, place the offender on probation, and ultimately dismiss the charge. However, there are various forms of probation and many different terms and conditions the judge might impose. A defendant represented by an over-burdened court-appointed lawyer or an inferior criminal lawyer might get a long term of probation loaded with burdensome, time-consuming, and expensive obligations. Conversely, a defendant represented by a skilled, respected, and well-prepared domestic violence specialist stands a better chance of a lenient, short sentence with few obligations.
What usually happens in a domestic violence case in Michigan?
Unfortunately, there is no cookie-cutter pattern for domestic violence prosecutions. Each case has a unique combination of facts, history, judge, prosecutor, defense lawyer, and parties. Although there is no exact formula or “normal” thing that happens, there are common patterns, such as:
- most victims recant, and few prosecutors pay attention or care,
- most defendants are presumed guilty until proven innocent,
- most defense lawyers hardly put up a fight and manipulate their clients into pleading guilty or no contest without a fight to protect them,
- judges will order defendants placed on probation to engage in demanding, demeaning, expensive domestic violence programs where they will be emasculated and disrespected, and
- a top defense lawyer can almost always make things better for their client.
“In what counties does LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. typically represent clients charged with domestic violence 1st?
Our attorneys are proficient and well-respected for Macomb County Domestic Violence, Oakland County Domestic Violence, Washtenaw County Domestic Violence, Wayne County Domestic Violence, Livingston County Domestic Violence, and domestic violence charges throughout Michigan.
Formidable, Aggressive, and Effective Domestic Violence Defense Attorneys
Do you want to avoid a conviction and jail time for a first offense domestic violence in Michigan? We can help you achieve the best possible outcome for your case. Regardless of whether the defendant is guilty or someone made a false allegation, the Defense Team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. will know the best strategy to help you. We have decades of experience and a winning track record of assisting clients in Oakland County, Macomb County, Washtenaw County, Wayne County, and throughout Southeastern Michigan.
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Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete a Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.