MICHIGAN ASSAULTIVE CRIMES OUTLINED & EXPLAINED
Rather than citing each individual statute throughout this article (or a guide for assaultive crimes) it is best to review the black-letter law for assaultive crimes here in the State of Michigan.
Assaultive crimes vary substantially here in the State of Michigan, meaning there are multiple classes or categories of assaultive statutes. The basic definition of an assaultive crime begins with an assault. An assault is simply the unlawful and intentional threat of bodily harm to another attached with the ability to carry out the act. Moreover, the victim needs to recognize the threat intended by his or her “attacker.”
The more common assaultive crime attaches to it another element of assault, which is known as battery. Battery exists when an individual makes willful and intentional contact with a victim and is made against the victim’s freewill or consent. Therefore, an assault is an attempted assault and batery (or battery).
Here in Michigan, either crime carries, if convicted, the same punishment, which includes a misdemeanor on the defendant’s criminal record, a maximum 93-days in jail, and/or a $500.00 fine, plus court costs, probation, and other possible mandatory fees, requirements, mandates [Probation is always possible whenever a defendant pleas or is convicted of a crime]. If an individual has a prior conviction of assault, assault and battery and/or domestic violence on his or her record then the defendant could face up to 1-year in jail and/or a fine of $1,000.00.
The trend continues for those with 2 or more of the assaultive crimes just mentioned and will attach a 2-year felony, if convicted, and/o a $2,500.00 fine. In these situations where subsequent (more than one) assaultive crime convictions come into play, it is imperative to recognize the importance and impact a sentence enhancer has on an individual’s case.
The term domestic violence (another assaultive crime), as mentioned above, falls under the statutory definition of a “dating relationship.” If the individual committing an assault or assault and battery on his or her spouse or former spouse, an individual with whom he or she has or has had a dating relationship, an individual with whom he or she has had a child in common, or a resident or former resident of the same household then he or she is in a “dating relationship.” See MCL § 750.81a(3). See above paragraphs for subsequent domestic violence convictions and punishments.
There is also a diversion program for first-time offenders convicted of or who plea guilty to a domestic violence charge. The individual can receive an automatic expungement of the charge from his or her record upon successful completion of probation and the court’s sentencing terms or orders. Moreover, in order to qualify for the diversion program the individual must not have a prior assaultive conviction on his or her criminal record.
Also falling under the assaultive crime umbrella is obstructing, resisting, and assaulting or battering a police officer (or a person performing his or her lawful duty). This crime is charged as a 2-year felony with a possible $2,000.00 fine attached, if convicted. Also seen in practice is the attempted obstructing and resisting charge, which carries with it a maximum 1-year jail sentence. Even though this charge is more of a compliance crime, meaning comply with police officials’ order or directives, it is still categorized and charged as an assaultive crime.
It is never advisable to resist, pull, disobey, argue, fight, or otherwise fail to comply with lawful command. Resisting and obstructing crimes come when there is police involvement; therefore, whenever there is police involvement compliance with their demands is critical, but so is remaining silent. This does not mean a conversation between an individual and police must or must not occur nor does it mean that officers should be allowed into an individual’s home or car without having probable cause or a warrant. Rather it mean that if a crime has been committed and an individual does not wish to speak, then he or she does not have to, and if the police then arrest him or her or want to arrest him or her, then he or she should allow for the arrest, remain silent, and call an attorney. Finally, whenever there is a possibility or there is an actual moment where the individual is about to or could make an incriminating statement he or she should remain silent and ask that counsel be present. If an individual is unsure concerning what is and what is not incriminating, simply invoke the right to remain silent and ask for counsel to be present.
The State of Michigan also has statutory enhancements for assaultive crimes involving certain circumstances, locations, or what have you. Felonious assault involves the use of dangerous weapons including, but not limited to, a gun, brass knuckles, revolver, pistol, knife, iron bar, and/or club. This type of crime does not involve a defendant who intended to murder or inflict great bodily harm on an individual, which is regardless of whether he or she used a dangerous weapon. If that kind of intent were present then the defendant would be charged or convicted of assault with the intent to murder or do great bodily harm. See below.
The punishment for felonious assault involves a 4-year felony and a possible $2,000.00 fine. If a felonious assault is committed within a weapon free school zone then there is a scenario of things that can happen occur at sentencing. A felony is placed on the individual’s criminal record, and he or she could get up to 4-years in prison,, serve not more than 150 hours, and/or a a fine of $6,000.00.
Assault with the intent to murder is a felony and an individual a possible sentenced that consists of any term of years in jail, depending on his or her sentencing guideline’s score.
This is a good place to speak briefly on sentencing guidelines and the State of Michigan. When an individual, in Michigan, is convicted or pleads to a felony he or she will have his or her conviction(s) scored pursuant to Michigan’s Sentencing Guideline Manual (or Statutory Code). The range calculated will consist of two numbers (one high and one low), which will be generally be used by a judge to determine an appropriate sentenced for a convicted defendant.
An individual’s sentencing score is based upon two variables that are broken down into multiple categories (or points) [which we will leave for another day and another time]. The two main variables are the defendant’s criminal history–Prior record Variable–(PRV) and the factual basis–Offense Variable (OV). These two will be cross-referenced on the appropriate sentencing grid, after adding up the appropriate categories and points, which will then provide you with the applicable sentencing range for a defendant. To properly score a defendant’s sentencing range an individual must take his or her time and walk through the directions and scoring as set forth in the sentencing guidelines manual. Click for Michigan’s 2012 Online Sentencing Guidelines Manual.
It is important to be on the look out for charges that consist of multiple assaultive crimes, meaning individual’s charged with crimes such as assault with the intent to murder and intent to do great bodily harm. These are lesser-includeds and become important during sentencing, plea negotiations, and trial. Make sure to review the elements of each crime to ensure that any plea agreement or advice includes the possible consequences of lesser-includeds.
Moreover, Michigan also recognizes an assault with the intent to do great bodily, and anyone convicted can receive up to 10-years in jail and/or a fine of $5,000.00 fine. Other assault crimes will include, but are not limited to Torture, Assault with intent to maim, Assault with intent to commit a felony (within burglary or other felony otherwise not indicated in act), assault with intent to rob and steal (armed or unarmed), sexual intercourse under pretext of medical treatment, enhancements for assaults against women who are pregnant, and those circumstances involving government employees. Each of the crimes just listed has statutory section and language which lists the possible or mandatorily required punishment. It is imperative to look carefully at the language of the statute before proceeding with any assault case.
For those individuals older than 17 but younger than 21, they are able to qualify for a diversion program called the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act (HYTA), but only for some of the crimes discussed above and listed within the criminal code. In order to better understand whether an individual would or does qualify for HYTA, research and possible advise should be sought.
Whenever you are charged with an assaultive crime make sure you contact and obtain a criminal defense attorney. never rely on a blog or other information available on the internet when attempting or trying to represent yourself in a criminal court. You must and should always contact or obtain an attorney when charged with any Michigan criminal felony or misdemeanor, including assaultive crimes.