If you’ve been charged with domestic violence, Fran Murphy Law PLC can provide you with the individualized attention you need to defend your case. For a first offense, domestic violence is a misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of 93 days in jail, up to $500 in fines, or both. MCL 750.81(2). You may be charged with the crime of domestic violence if you are accused of committing an assault or assault and battery against your spouse or former spouse, an individual with whom you have or had a dating relationship, an individual with whom you share a child in common, or a resident or former resident of your household.
What Happens if I’m Convicted of Domestic Violence?
If you are convicted of domestic violence and are later charged with the crime of domestic violence, the penalties increase. For a second offense, domestic violence is still a misdemeanor, but carries a maximum sentence of imprisonment for up to one (1) year or a fine of up to $1,000, or both. If you receive two (2) domestic violence convictions, your third domestic violence charge will be listed as a felony, and the punishment increases substantially. The punishment for a third domestic violence conviction is up to five (5) years imprisonment or a fine of up to $5,000, or both.
If you receive a conviction for domestic violence and are later charged with domestic violence again, the evidence of your first domestic violence conviction could be admissible to prove your guilt in the second case. MCL 768.27b. Generally, prior bad acts are not admissible to prove your guilt in a case. However, a Michigan statute provides an exception for domestic violence cases. The statute states that evidence of a defendant’s commission of other acts of domestic violence or sexual assault is admissible for any purpose that is relevant unless the evidence is excluded under Michigan Rule of Evidence 403. However, the prosecutor cannot just admit evidence of the prior conviction. If the prosecutor intends to to offer evidence of other acts of domestic violence or sexual assault, the proseucting attorney is required to disclose the evidence, witness statements, or a summary of the testimony that is supposed to be offered no less than fifteen (15) days before the trial date.
There is another evidentiary exception for domestic violence cases. Generally, hearsay is inadmissible. So, if someone claims you committed a crime and tells the police, the police can’t testify about what the witness told them because it is hearsay. However, in domestic violence cases, a witness’s statements can be admissible to prove that a domestic violence was committed. There are certain requirements that need to be met. MCL 768.27c. The statement must describe a physical injury or a threat of physical injury, it must have been made at or near the time of infliction of the injury, under circumstances that would indicate the statement’s trustworthiness, and must be made to a law enforcement officer.