Assault in Michigan is an attempt to cause physical injury to another person – for instance, attempting to strike someone with a hand or object, and missing. Assault also is any intentional act or threat of action, if the assailant appears to have the ability to carry out the threat, that reasonably causes a person to believe that he is about to be struck or injured. While the crime of battery involves an actual physical attack, rather just a threat or attempt, the term “assault” can refer to assault or an assault and battery under Michigan law.
(Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 750.81.)
Assault is a felony crime in Michigan when committed with the intent to murder or cause great bodily harm, or when committed with the intent to commit another felony such as kidnapping or robbery. Felony assault is punishable by four years in prison or up to a life sentence when committed with a dangerous weapon, including a firearm, and when committed with intent to rob or steal from another person.
To learn more about felony assault and battery, see Felony Assault and Battery in Michigan. For information on misdemeanor assault and battery, see Simple Assault and Battery in Michigan. And for information on assault and domestic violence, see Michigan Domestic Violence Laws.
Assault with a deadly weapon – or felonious assault – is an assault committed with: 1) an object that can inflict serious injury; and 2) the intent to injure the victim or cause the victim to fear an immediate attack or injury.
An object is a deadly weapon if it is inherently dangerous (for example, a gun, knife, or brass knuckles) or if it is used as a weapon and in a manner that can cause serious injury. A broom stick, aerosol spray can, or a dog can be dangerous weapons because they can be used in a manner intended to cause serious injury. If an offender commits assault with a dangerous weapon, the offense is punishable by up to four years in prison, a fine up to $2,000, or both.
If the assault occurs in a weapon free zone (school property and school vehicles used for transporting students), the offense is punishable by up to four years in prison, a fine of up to $6,000, up to 150 hours of community service, or any combination of these three punishments.
(Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 750.82.)
Someone who attempts or commits a felony in Michigan with a firearm in his possession is guilty of a felony. The first conviction of this crime is punishable by up to two years in prison, the second by up to five years, and the third by up to ten years. The sentence must be served consecutive to any sentence for the underlying felony (the sentence for assault with a deadly weapon, for instance, followed by the sentence for commission of the felony while in possession of the firearm). This sentence also cannot be suspended and the defendant is not eligible for probation or parole.
(Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 750.227b.)
If an assailant commits an assault with the intent of robbing or stealing from the victim – a mugging, for instance – and the assailant is armed with a dangerous weapon or an object made or used to look like a dangerous weapon, such as a toy gun, the crime is punishable by any prison term up to a life sentence.
(Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 750.89.)
The Michigan courts can allow an offender to serve a portion or all of a prison sentence on probation. A person on probation must meet regularly with a probation officer and comply with conditions set by the court, such as no further arrests or convictions, attending counseling or performing community service. If a person violates a condition of probation, he can be arrested, re-sentenced, and required to serve the maximum sentence period in jail, with no credit for the time he served on probation.
Someone convicted of assault or battery in Michigan will be required to pay restitution, which means reimbursing the victim for any expenses resulting from the crime, such as the cost of medical treatment or counseling.
(Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 769.1a.)
An attorney can investigate the case and determine if you were wrongfully charged or there are other reasons why the case should be dismissed before trial. If the charges are not dismissed, an attorney may be able to negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor on your behalf, or prepare a defense and represent you at trial if you believe you have been wrongly accused or if there are no reasonable plea options. Prosecutors often will negotiate and agree to let the defendant plead guilty to a different, less serious crime. Or, the prosecutor may agree to a lighter sentence, such as probation, in exchange for a plea of guilty to the charge.
A felony conviction will seriously affect your life. A convicted felon loses the right to vote, hold public office, serve as a juror, and carry or own firearms. In certain circumstances, a felony conviction also can result in loss of a professional license. If a felon is convicted later of another crime, his felony record can subject him to a harsher sentence in the new case. A felony conviction and particularly a conviction for a violent crime can hurt you when you are looking for a job or applying to rent a house or apartment.
Only someone familiar with the local criminal court system and cases like yours will know how good your chances are for a favorable outcome in court or at the negotiating table. A knowledgeable attorney will take all of this into consideration, assist you in making decisions about your case, and protect your rights.