August 29, 2018

Domestic Assault & Violent Crimes

Domestic Assault

The Williams Law Firm has represented individuals ranging from first-time offenders in accidental hit-and-run cases to hardened career criminals, and such include those who have been accused what of is commonly referred to as Domestic Assault. This firm practices in both state and federal courts, handling pre-trial hearings such as grand jury representations and criminal trial defense, appeals, and post-conviction cases. We have represented clients in federal cases, and before military and tribal tribunals.

As a criminal and civil defense firm, the Williams Law Firm has access to a wide range of experts to thoroughly investigate each felony crime charge. When appropriate, our violent crime defense includes working with private investigators, psychiatrists, psychologists, medical specialists, accountants, economists, evidence validation experts, and crime scene analysts to gather evidence and build a strong case.

Our staff is particularly knowledgeable about the use of psychiatric evidence in proving diminished capacity, lack of competence, and lack of specific intent in cases in which the person charged with the crime is suffering from mental illness or under duress.

Visit the Criminal Process section to learn more about your rights, arrest procedure, and what you can expect during and after the court process.

The Williams Law Firm provides strong defense representation to people throughout Michigan facing criminal charges for crimes such as:

  • Aggravated assault (Agg)
  • Armed and unarmed robbery
  • Arson
  • Simple assault (and battery) (A&B)
  • Assault to do great bodily harm less than murder (GBH)
  • Assault with a deadly weapon
  • Attempted murder
  • Domestic violence (DV)
  • Felony weapons charges/concealed weapon (CCW)
  • Rape, Sexual Assault (CSC)
  • Kidnapping/Extortion
  • Larceny of an occupied building
  • Larceny from a person
  • Manslaughter/Homicide (voluntary and involuntary)
  • Vehicular manslaughter/vehicular homicide

Domestic Violence (Domestic Assault)

Although the list of violent crimes is a long one, the most common in the court systems at this time is that of domestic violence. Despite excellent examples of one-sided situations where there is clearly a perpetrator and a victim, the bulk of situations have, to one degree or another, two individuals who either reside together, often as husband and wife, or boyfriend and girlfriend, college roommates, non-heterosexual partners, and all the formers of such scenarios. More often than not alcohol or drugs are involved. Courts and the legislature have taken notice of this growing trend. Hard economic times, likewise, do not lend a helpful backdrop. However, society cannot and will not ignore these situations, as perhaps once was the case. Police will and do arrest on nearly every 911 call. They take this quite seriously as it is their job to do so. At the first contact with the court system following the arrest, a PA 53 is entered (no contact order), which conditions the parties to stay apart until the order is dropped before the assigned judge at a later date. The defendant’s release from jail on bond or bail is predicated on this condition being honored.

But there is a way out of this situation for the non-chronic offender who, often acting together with the corresponding partner, who wishes to stay together and not have a criminal record to haunt their employment and social reputations. If it is offered, and if the court accepts the petition, what is referred to in the MCL as Section 769.4(a) may be employed at the discretion of the sentencing judge. This entails staying free of alcohol and drugs, and going to a counseling program, for the defendant and sometimes for the victim as well, one that is designed for this type of unacceptable battery, which nearly always starts out as verbal abuse between the parties, more often than not involving alcohol. Probation usually lasts for a period ranging between six months and two years, and requires periodic visits to a probation agent or, where there is a Domestic Violence Court (similar to Sobriety Courts), the sentencing judge on regular intervals. If the defendant (or co-defendants) successfully complete the criteria, the plea that is held in abeyance at the plea-taking (interim sentencing) of the adjudication process is vacated and thereby not entered with the Department of Corrections, to wit: It will not appear as a conviction on your Compiled Criminal History (CCH). Unlike the HYTA, this deferment has no age limitations as to being under or over the age of 21 at the time of the commission of the crime.

There are also two other such held in abeyance (or deferred) types of statutes besides the Section 769.4(a) and the drug based Section 7411 as follows:

  • 1. However rarely used, for the non-custodial parent who does not return the common child to the custodial parent and is charged with kidnapping, a guilty plea is made but not entered. Following the completion of a probationary term which involves counseling, the deferredplea which was held in abeyance is vacated and no criminal conviction is entered. This deferment has no age limitations. MCL 750.350 a (Parental Kidnapping)
    2. Further, and a quite recently amended law (2005), there is a similar statute which relieves a physician or health professional from criminal liability when alcohol (above .05 BAC) or drugs impaired their professional performance by allowing the guilty plea to be held in abeyance for a probationary term with a District Court which maintains a Sobriety program, and, upon successful completion there from, the plea will be vacated and the conviction will not be entered. This deferment, too, has no age limitations. MCL 750.430 (8) (a) (ii)

FAQs On Violent Crimes

Can a case be dropped if the victim does not want to press charges?
How can one be charged with domestic assault without touching anybody?
Is it possible that a domestic assault charge will not stay on record?
How can I remove a personal protection order (PPO)?
What happens if I break a PPO?
Will I need to attend any programs?
Should I be concerned about media coverage?
What is the fee for this type of case?

Can a case be dropped if the victim does not want to press charges?

Usually before filing the complaint with the prosecutor’s office, the police department tries to gather as much evidence as possible. The most serious evidence is usually a victim’s statement, as well as a statement from other witnesses. After a criminal complaint is authorized by the prosecutor’s office, the case is not likely to be dropped just upon the call from the victim, who does not want to press charges. This certainly does not mean that the matter is lost, and you will have to defend yourself in court.

How can one be charged with domestic assault without touching anybody?

Assault is defined as “being placed in a fear of immediate bodily harm”. As you can see, the definition does not have anything to do with the fact of physical contact. If by your actions you created this fear of immediate bodily harm, you have committed the act of assault. But the domestic violence statute actually does require some form of contact. It could be bumping, shoving, grabbing, even spitting at and on a domestic partner. So, if you are charged with a domestic violence (assault) offense and only offensive words were used, or if the person fell down and was bruised without any actual contact -you cannot be found guilty.

Is it possible that a domestic assault charge will not stay on record?

If you have never been convicted of any type of assault, the court, without entering the judgment of guilt, and with consent of the prosecuting attorney in consultation with the victim, may defer further proceedings and place you on probation as provided by Section 769.4(a) of the MCL. In other words, after you successfully complete probation, you will walk away with no convictions on your record.

How can I remove a personal protection order (PPO)?

To protect an alleged victim in the domestic assault case, the court usually issues the so-called PPO, or PA 53, which is a personal protection order. This order prohibits you, or anyone affiliated with you, from having any contact with the complaining witness to prevent any pressure or influence. However, if the complaining witness wishes to remove the PPO a judge can cancel the PPO upon his/her request but each district judge has his or her own formula as to how this may be accomplished, to wit: classes mandated for both parties, etc. Your attorney can help you with this.

What happens if I break a PPO?

By the time the PPO or PA 53 is issued, you are most likely out on bond. It also occurs at the arraignment. A violation of the bond condition will be the first consequence of breaking the PPO and you are likely to go back to jail. Secondly, if you refuse or fail to comply with the no contact order, you are a subject to the criminal contempt powers of the court and, if found guilty, you may be imprisoned for not more then 93 days and may be fined not more than $500.00. If you find yourself in this situation, you should seek advice of a counsel.

Will I need to attend any programs?

The choice of remedials (educational or treatment programs) depends on the particulars of every case. However, if you intend to take advantage of Section 769.4(a), mentioned above, you will in all likelihood have to attend some domestic assault class or be involved with a licensed psychologist who specializes in matters such as these. Our law office realizes that these classes may become a considerable expense out of our clients’ budgets, and we are, therefore devoted to finding the right program in terms of its usefulness, duration, as well as affordability.

Should I be concerned about media coverage?

When facing serious felony charges for a violent crime, you need a violent crime defense lawyer who is not only experienced in the courtroom, but also one with experience tackling high profile cases that draw media attention.

We have represented clients in high profile cases, and within the parameters of legal ethics, The Williams Law Firm attorneys works with print and broadcast media to ensure clients get a fair trial.

Handling press coverage is difficult. It is important to work with a law firm that understands the challenges and operates with professionalism.

What is the fee for this type of case?

Obviously, there are no two cases that would be identical. Therefore, the fees vary from case to case. Your fee can be discussed during your free consultation. This type of case, Domestic Violence (first offense) is a misdemeanor, and as such, will likely be a flat-fee basis charge. This will fall in line with other 93-day misdemeanors, such as first-offense drunk driving just to give a ballpark idea as to pricing. We will also be glad to set up a free consultation, where you could get a feel as to what our firm can legally do for you, how comfortable you feel with your attorney, and how much you will be charged.

Our office operates mainly on the basis of flat fees for case such as this. It means that you will not be billed on a per hour basis, but will know up front what the expense will be. This number will not change if the work on the case goes beyond our expectations. We also cap our flat fee cases, but there are disbursement costs assessed for each case.

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