Michigan Domestic Violence – Types of Charges

The one thing all types of domestic violence charges in Michigan have in common is that they are litigated vigorously by prosecutors and punished harshly by judges.

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What You Need to Know About the Types of Domestic Violence Charges in Michigan

Domestic Violence in Michigan is defined as an assault or an assault and battery committed by one person against a resident or former resident of their household, a person in a dating relationship, a spouse, or a person with a child in common. There are many types of domestic violence charges in Michigan. If someone thoroughly understands the charges and potential penalties, they can make more informed decisions about their defense and legal representation.

Types of Domestic Violence in Michigan.

  • Domestic Battery involves physical harm inflicted on a family member or intimate partner.
  • Assault refers to intentional threats or attempts to cause physical injury, even if no harm ensues.
  • Child Abuse covers physical, emotional, or sexual maltreatment of related minors.
  • Spousal Abuse concerns harm or threats directed at a current or former spouse.
  • Stalking is the obsessive tracking, watching, or menacing of someone, causing fear.
  • Harassment entails persistent unwanted actions, often causing distress or fear, without necessarily threatening physical harm.
  • Violation of Restraining Order is the act of disobeying court-issued directives that prohibit contact or proximity to a specific individual.
  • Domestic Strangulation is the actual or attempted interference with the airway of a family member, domestic partner, spouse, or former spouse.
  • Felonious Assault is domestic violence with a dangerous weapon.

If you’ve been charged with domestic violence in Michigan, you need an experienced domestic violence attorney. Below is an overview of the various types of domestic violence one may be charged with in Michigan’s courts.

“Why do prosecutors and judges seem to take these cases personally?”

Regardless of the type of domestic violence charges they face, clients often ask us, “Why are they coming at me so hard?” The truth is that prosecutors and judges routinely treat domestic violence cases with heightened sensitivity due to the grave societal concern surrounding these offenses and the possibility of political ramifications. They believe their commitment reflects a duty to protect victims and deter potential perpetrators, acknowledging the severe risks and intimate breaches of trust inherent in such cases. Personal experiences, specialized training, and the influence of advocacy groups have further shaped the legal community’s stance. Over time, with an evolving societal understanding and the emotional weight of victim testimonies, many judges and prosecutors have developed a more proactive and stern approach toward those who have allegedly committed domestic violence offenses.


Types of Domestic Violence Charges

Domestic Battery

Domestic battery, often called “domestic violence,” is simply the intentional infliction of bodily damage on a family member or other close relationship. The act could involve more severe kinds of violence, as well as beating and slapping. The relationship between the perpetrator and the victim is the key feature that sets this sort of battery apart from others. In a domestic environment, the underlying issues are frequently power struggles, personal or familial conflicts, or long-standing grievances. Possible penalties are as follows:

  • First Offense Domestic Battery – Up to 93 days in jail and two (2) years of probation.
  • Second Offense Domestic Battery – Up to one year in jail and two (2) years of probation.
  • Third (or Subsequent) Offense of Domestic Battery – Up to five (5) years prison and five (5) years probation.


Assault is not just about physical harm but encompasses the intent behind actions and threats. It’s the act of placing someone in immediate fear or apprehension of harmful or offensive contact. Even if the victim is unharmed, the threat alone and the potential to carry it out may be enough to justify filing an assault complaint. Such charges highlight the significance of a person’s right to personal security and tranquility. When placed against a home context, the complexities of relationships add complexity to the problem. Domestic assault has the same potential penalties as domestic battery.

Child Abuse

This serious offense goes beyond just hurting a child physically. It dives more deeply into psychological, emotional, and sexual abuse. Child abuse includes physical wounds and psychological scars that are not always obvious. Many child abuse allegations arise when a parent loses control or does something impulsive in a moment of anger or frustration. Other cases are based on exaggerations or false allegations of abuse. Children sometimes make false allegations to get attention, get revenge, or manipulate their parents or living situation. The penalties for child abuse convictions are as follows:

  • 1st Degree Child Abuse – Up to life in prison.
  • 2nd Degree Child Abuse – Up to 10 years in prison (20 years for a second or subsequent offense).
  • 3rd Degree Child Abuse – Up to two (2) years in prison.
  • 4th Degree Child Abuse – Up to one year in jail.

Spousal Abuse

Beyond the immediate hurt or threats made to a spouse, domestic violence frequently takes root in a vicious cycle of power and control. It can take the form of physical aggression, mental control, command over finances, or sexual coercion. Both overt and covert forms of abuse are possible, such as physical harm, gaslighting, or isolating the victim from social networks. The dynamics are frequently complicated by the marriage or relationship bond, making it difficult for victims to flee or seek assistance.

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Types of Domestic Violence Charges (Continued)


Stalking is a pervasive and compulsive harassment that goes beyond merely following someone. Unexpected interference in one’s life can cause dread and distress. Unwanted messages, monitoring, disseminating untrue information, and even threats are examples of acts. Cyberstalking, where someone utilizes the internet to monitor and frighten another person, has become more common in today’s digital age. It can have long-lasting psychological effects on victims since it forces them to be vigilant all the time.

On the other hand, merely contacting someone a few times or engaging in back-and-forth communication is not stalking. False allegations of stalking often occur when a relationship breaks down, and one party falsely claims they’ve been incessantly contacted without consent. Stalking penalties range from one year in jail to up to 10 years in prison, depending on the severity of the allegations.


Harassment is a term used to describe persistent, unwelcome acts intended to frighten or distress a person. It goes beyond minor irritations. The purpose of the harasser is frequently to exercise authority and instill fear, whether by words, deeds, or written correspondence. When it comes to domestic violence, this could entail a former spouse allegedly making harassing phone calls, sending threatening messages, or using other forms of intimidation. People make mistakes. When a client agrees they’ve engaged in behavior constituting a crime and desire to take responsibility, the attorneys with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN. P.L.L.C. employ several highly effective negotiating tactics to get charges lowered and penalties, like jail, reduced. If a client is innocent or the evidence is weak, our team will get to work preparing for a jury trial unless the case is dismissed.

Violation of Restraining Order

A Restraining Order is a legal safeguard put in place by the court to insulate a victim from future abuse or harassment. Restraining orders can include no-contact provisions in bonds or bail or a personal protection order (PPO). When someone crosses these bounds set by the law, it’s not simply a violation of the law; it also shows a flagrant disrespect for the safety and well-being of others. This accusation is especially serious because it shows an alleged perpetrator’s propensity to disobey obvious legal requirements, potentially raising the risk to the protected person. Regarding alleged violations of no-contact orders, defendants often find themselves presumed guilty unless proven innocent.

Domestic Strangulation

Domestic strangulation means an unconsented touching of another person by intentionally impeding the normal circulation of blood or breathing by applying pressure on the throat or neck or blocking the nose or mouth. The victim’s blood or breath does not have to be cut off, just impeded in some way. The penalty for Michigan domestic strangulation is up to 10 years in prison and five (5) years of intensive probation.

Felonious Assault

A domestic felonious assault occurs when one person threatens a family member, spouse, or intimate partner with a dangerous weapon. No actual contact needs to have happened. The accused must have attempted to commit a battery or did an act that would cause a reasonable person to fear an immediate battery. A felonious assault cannot be accidental. The defendant must have intended to either injure the alleged victim or make them reasonably fear an immediate battery. The assault must have occurred with a dangerous weapon. Almost anything can be adangerous weapon” if used in a way that is likely to cause bodily harm. This offense carries the possibility of up to four (4) years in prison.

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“Why would I want to hire a lawyer with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. to defend me on domestic violence charges in Michigan?”

When you hire a domestic violence defense attorney with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., you get representation from someone with a proven track record, extensive experience, and well-regarded by prosecutors and judges for providing the highest caliber of defense. Given this, here is what you can expect from our attorneys and staff:

  1. Strong Understanding of the Law: Our lawyers have a deep knowledge of criminal law, the charges you’re facing, and all relevant defenses.
  2. Excellent Communication: We will keep you informed at every stage of the process, explaining complex legal concepts in a way you can understand. Our attorneys and staff will be available to address any concerns or questions.
  3. Strategic Thinking: Utilizing a unique team approach you only get with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., we will devise a strategy tailored to your specific situation. This might include negotiations for a plea deal, preparing for a trial, or exploring alternative resolutions.
  4. Negotiation Skills: Many criminal cases are resolved through plea bargains. A top defense attorney must be adept at negotiating favorable terms with prosecutors and judges. Because we have reputations as skilled and effective trial lawyers, we have established and substantial influence when negotiating extraordinary resolutions.
  5. Trial Experience: If your case goes to trial, it is essential that you have an attorney with significant trial experience, someone who is persuasive, confident, and able to think on their feet. We have decades of experience winning jury and bench trials other lawyers believed were unwinnable.
  6. Thorough Investigation: Our team will conduct a thorough investigation, gathering all relevant evidence, interviewing witnesses, and consulting with top experts if necessary. Often, the key to winning is thorough and meticulous preparation.
  7. Ethical Behavior: A top attorney should uphold the highest ethical standards. We will be honest and transparent with you about the strengths and weaknesses of your case and never make false promises or guarantees.
  8. Confidentiality: All information you share with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. will be kept in the strictest confidence. Confidential communication is a key element of the attorney-client privilege.
  9. Passion and Dedication: Our lawyers never “mail it in”! When you work with our firm, you will see immediately that we are genuinely invested in your case, advocating for your best interests and fighting to protect your rights throughout the process.
  10. Up-to-Date Knowledge: Laws and legal procedures change. Our lawyers are current on all relevant statutes, case law, and court procedures. We routinely engage in continuing legal education. The benefit of our team approach is you get the expertise of a team of lawyers collaborating and working together to help you.
  11. A Supportive Team: Top attorneys work with a team of paralegals, investigators, and other professionals who can assist in building a strong defense for you. When you hire one of us, you get all of us in your corner!
  12. Clear Financial Terms: Before agreeing to representation, you will have a clear understanding of the fee structure and type of rate (flat fee, hourly, or combination rate). We will work with you to find a fair, affordable fee that fits within your budget.
  13. Professional Network: Our well-connected attorneys often consult with a network of experts and other professionals to bolster your defense. Our reputation and relationships within the legal community are also beneficial.
  14. Respect in the Legal Community: You’d want an attorney respected by peers, judges, and even prosecutors. Respect can play a crucial role in negotiations and courtroom interactions. When lesser-known or respected lawyers threaten to take a case to trial unless it is dismissed or resolved, prosecutors are rarely influenced. When we set a case for trial, the judge and prosecutor know we mean business and will never back down.
  15. Personal Attention: While top attorneys are often very busy, you should still expect personal attention and not feel like just another case. Unlike a solo practitioner, we have a team of lawyers, paralegals, and staff to ensure every client gets the personal attention they deserve.

Hiring a top criminal defense attorney can be crucial in navigating the complexities of the criminal justice system. However, always ensure you do your own research, ask for referrals, and read reviews before deciding.

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Your Best Defense to Domestic Violence Charges

The Defense Team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has decades of experience and an unparalleled track record of successfully defending clients with felony and misdemeanor domestic violence charges in Michigan. We have a team of domestic violence defense lawyers and highly experienced support staff collaborating to achieve extraordinary results. Throughout Michigan, judges and prosecutors know that the attorneys with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. will do whatever it takes to achieve the best possible results. Call us for a free consultation and confidential case evaluation. We will find a way to help you!

Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete an online Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.

We will find a way to help you and, most importantly,
we are not afraid to win!

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