In the state of Michigan, assault is defined as the attempt to cause a physical injury to another person; this does not involve any contact between the assailant and the victim. Battery, however, is the intentional injury of another person through force or violence and may involve direct contact with the assailant or an object controlled by the assailant. Michigan terms a crime as assault and battery because this includes the attempt to harm as well as the fulfillment of that action.
In Michigan, assault and battery charges fall into two categories: simple and felony. Simple assault and battery is committed without a weapon, but if the injury is serious in nature, the charge may be raised to aggravated assault and battery. Both simple and aggravated assault and battery are misdemeanor charges. A simple assault and battery offense may produce a sentence of up to 93 days in detention, a fine up to $500, probation for a period of 93 days, and/or restitution. Aggravated assault and battery can carry up to a year in jail, a $1,000 fine, two years of probation, and/or restitution.
In the cases of domestic abuse or the assault and battery of public authority like police or emergency medical personnel, assault and battery offenses may carry stiffer penalties. In domestic violence situations within Michigan, a first offense carries the potential for 93 days of detention, a $500 fine, restitution or up to two years of probation. A second domestic assault and battery can result in a one year jail term, a fine up to $1,000, restitution or probation for a period of two years. Three or more offenses can yield sentences of up to two years in prison, $2,500 fines, restitution and probation for five years. Aggravated domestic assault and battery which involves a dangerous weapon can produce a sentence of one year in jail, $500 fine, restitution or two years of probation. A prior domestic charge of any kind will raise the penalty to up to two years in prison, $2,500 fine, restitution and/or five years of probation.
Felony assault and battery includes:
- Assault with intent to murder: this carries a sentence up to ten years in prison or a fine of $5,000
- Assault with intent to maim: this carries a sentence up to ten years in prison or a fine of $5,000
- Assault with intent to rob, steal or commit a felony: this carries a sentence up to ten years in prison or a fine of $5,000
Certain authorities are protected by Michigan state law, and an assault and battery on these persons carries harsher penalties. Utility workers, human services workers, search and rescue personnel, police officers and EMTs fall into this category of protected professionals. An assault and battery on these professionals can result in sentences between one and two years, fines up to $1,000, restitution and probation.
Legal Defenses for Assault and Battery
The state of Michigan does permit certain defenses for assault and battery. To effectively utilize these defenses, a capable criminal defense attorney must prove them in a court of law.
- Mutual consent: If the victim voluntarily agreed to combat with the assailant, then the defendant may be immune to prosecution
- Self-defense: If the assailant had a reasonable belief that the victim intended to injure him then he may be able to claim the legal protection of self-defense.
- Defense of others: Similar to the self-defense argument, a defendant may claim that the victim intended to harm others and was justified in initiating violence
- Defense of property: In some cases, if the defendant can show that a violation of property—i.e. trespass—or the attempt to recover stolen goods was the justification for the assault and battery, then they may be found immune to prosecution. In most cases, involving defense of property, only a reasonable amount of force is permitted.
- Performance of duty: If the defendant was attempting to prevent a crime or apprehend a criminal, then the defendant may be immune from prosecution.
These and other legal defenses must be utilized by a well-qualified legal professional who is familiar with the intricacies of criminal law to be most effective. With the aid of a highly experienced criminal defense attorney, a defendant may be able to argue that their actions were not criminal. As one of Michigan’s most esteemed criminal defense lawyers, Kevin Bessant has helped countless clients successfully resolve assault and battery cases. To learn how Kevin Bessant may assist in a criminal assault and battery case, please call (318) 658-8159.