In 2010, over 100,000 Domestic violence offenses were reported throughout Michigan. Michigan crime statistics for 2010 show that offenders used anything from a handgun or knife to poison and sleeping pills as a weapon against another person. Many times, no weapon is used and the allegations simply involve a push or a shove.
Domestic violence can occur between spouses, former spouses, individuals in or formerly in a dating relationship, individuals engaged or formerly engaged in a sexual relationship, and many other types of “domestic relationships”. Michigan’s domestic violence statute covers all family relationships past and present. It not only makes physical assaults a crime but mental and emotional harm to another a crime as well. Arguments can lead to threats and the possibility of someone calling the police. Once the police are called, the likelihood that one of the individuals involved in the argument walks away in handcuffs becomes very high.
Often times the caller, simply wanting police help in diffusing an argument, is surprised when their loved one is taken away in the back of a patrol car. At the beginning of my career in New York nearly 20 years ago, the police used a substantial amount of discretion in deciding whether to arrest someone. Today, the atmosphere has changed and generally speaking someone is arrested if the police are called to a “domestic”.
In domestic situations, the police must deal with a “he said, she said” investigation between the parties involved in the dispute. Additionally, the spouse/family member victim may decide that getting the police involved was a mistake and they no longer wish to testify. Sometimes there may not have been any abuse at all. False reporting of domestic abuse can and does happen. This is certainly not always the case, but domestic violence cases can be very difficult to prosecute and defend for these very reasons.
Many individuals charged with domestic assault are not aware that it is ultimately the prosecutor that decides to pursue a domestic violence case. It is the prosecutor’s decision, based upon the evidence collected, as to whether the case should proceed even if the only evidence is the alleged victim who no longer wishes to testify. It is vital to have a passionate, knowledgeable, and experienced Michigan criminal defense attorney assisting you to fight allegations of domestic abuse. Often times, an experience criminal defense attorney can spot weaknesses and flaws in the prosecutor’s case. The possibility of jail time, probation, a court order prohibiting someone from returning to their home, and thousands of dollars in fines and fees are penalties too costly to take domestic violence charges lightly.