There are a number of different assault charges that may be brought against you in the State of Michigan. As in all criminal cases, the prosecutor must prove all the elements of any assault charge beyond a reasonable doubt.
Assault and battery charges in Michigan can from simple misdemeanors to serious felonies, but all carry life-changing consequences. As witnesses are often fueled by anger or money, successfully defeating these serious accusations is with a skilled assault attorney on your side. With an extensive knowledge of the law, the top assault defense attorneys at Nessel and Kessel have the skill required to tear down jealous witnesses, as well as the rest of the prosecutor’s case. For the best outcome to your assault and battery case, you need Detroit’s top criminal attorneys at Nessel & Kessel Law.
Understanding “Assault” and “Battery”
In Michigan there are many different kinds of assault and battery charges that may be brought by the prosecutor. These can vary from misdemeanor charges that carry probation or a short jail sentence to felony charges that can carry up to life in prison. More often than not, prosecutors will bring the most serious charge they can, even if the charge is not totally supported by the evidence. That is why it’s important to have one of Michigan’s top assault attorneys at your side.
Before distinguishing between the wide variety of assaults, it’s important to understand what is an “assault” and what is a “battery.” A “battery” is simply the intentional, unwanted, and offensive touching of another person. An “assault” is the act of putting someone in fear of a battery. Many people believe that in order to be charged with an assaultive crime that an actual, physical touching must occur (aka battery) must occur. That is absolutely not the case, and it is possible to be accused of assault without physically touching anyone.
Assault and Battery
The most simple assault charge in Michigan is “assault and battery”, which is considered a misdemeanor crime. If convicted of assault and battery charges, a defendant will face up to 93 days in jail and a fine of not more than $500.00, or both. More often than not, a defendant will receive a sentence of probation that will include conditions as to be set by the court. However, you should NEVER assume that just because you are facing misdemeanor assault and battery charges that you will be walking out of the courtroom after you have been sentenced. Often times the determining factor between receiving a jail sentence and simple probation is the information that the judge has about the defendant at sentencing. A top criminal attorney can be crucial in convincing a judge that, if convicted, you will never spend a night in jail.
Both assault and battery and aggravated assault charges are misdemeanors crimes. The difference between assault and battery and aggravated assault is the resulting injury. To be convicted, the injury sustained must be of an “aggravated” one. If convicted, a defendant faces up to 1 year in jail and a $1,000.00, or both. Because there is no absolute definition of whether an injury is aggravated or not, it’s important to have experienced legal counsel who can negotiate and argue this factor on your behalf.
Felonious assault is one of the most commonly charged felonies in Michigan. To be charged with felonious assault, it must be alleged that the defendant did assault someone with a dangerous weapon. A dangerous weapon can include a gun, knife, crowbar, bottle (unbroken and broken), bat, hammer, frying pan, etc. However, while those are the obvious “dangerous weapons”, the criminal defense attorneys at Nessel and Kessel Law have seen defendants charged with felonious assaults based on assaults with rings, shoes, boots, and even lamps. If convicted of felonious assault a defendant can face up to 4 years in prison.
It should also be noted that a felonious assault charge brought on the basis of an assault with a gun, will result in the additional charge gun charge of felony firearm, which carries with it an automatic 2 year prison sentence.
Assault With Intent To Do Great Bodily Harm Less Than Murder (GBH)
Now entering the world of more serious assault charges, charges of intent to do great bodily harm less than murder carries significantly steeper consequences. If convicted of GBH, a defendant faces up to 10 years in prison or a fine of up to $5,000.00. As the name implies, to be charged with GBH it must be alleged that the defendant assaulted someone, not with the intent to murder, but to cause great bodily harm. The key to this charge is the intent. Was it really the intent of the defendant to shatter the complainant’s jaw, or was it simply the intent of the defendant to stop the complainant from grabbing the defendant’s girlfriend at the bar?
GBH is a charge that carries significant prison time; up to 10 years in prison. Many times a GBH charge is really an aggravated assault charge in disguise, or rather an aggravated assault that was simply over charged. Because of the life-changing and serious consequences that can befall a person convicted of a GBH assault crime, it’s critical to have an experienced attorney who can argue to a prosecutor, judge, or jury, what your intent really was.
Assault With Intent To Murder (AWIM)
Again, as the name suggests, to be charged with AWIM it must be allaged that the defendant assaulted someone with the intent to murder them. If convicted of AWIM, a defendant can face up to life in prison or any number of years. As with GBH, the critical element with an AWIM charge is intent. Just as many GBH charges are really instances of aggravated assault charges, so too are many AWIM charges really GBH charges in disguise. Intent can be shows by the nature and number of the injuries, the number of shots fired, the type of weapon (if any) that was used, the words of the defendant. There are literally hundreds of ways to defend against an assault with intent to murder charge, but there are only a limited number of attorneys who can use those defenses effectively.
The Nessel and Kessel Approach
At Nessel and Kessel Law, we have decades of experience dealing with assault charges. Because we are top criminal defense attorneys, when a client retains Nessel and Kessel Law we immediately begin to develop a comprehensive strategy for success. Sometimes success means convincing the prosecutor to dismiss the charges completely, or have them greatly reduced. Other times it means a motion to suppress evidence to have the case dismissed by a judge, or fully preparing for trial and securing a not guilty verdict.
Assault charges are often fueled by emotional and hostile witnesses. More often than not, a verdict will hang solely on the testimony of a complaining witness. The means that you need an attorney who is skilled in the art of cross examination, who can force a witness to admit things that may contradict earlier statements, police reports, hospital records, and other witnesses. Other times a case will turn on what the defendant’s intent was during the alleged assault. It can often times be difficult if not impossible to prove what someone’s intent was. At Nessel and Kessel Law, we have the experience needed to persuade a prosecutor, judge, or jury that you did not have the necessary intent to convict.
If you or a family member has been changed with an assaultive, contact the defense lawyers at Nessel and Kessel Law today.