We often get questions about the laws on assault in our state, and on the differences between misdemeanor and felony charges. In this post, we will discuss the difference between felony and misdemeanor assault in Michigan.
The difference between a misdemeanor and felony generally
In our state, the primary difference between a felony and a misdemeanor is the amount of jail time imposed if one is convicted. If convicted of a misdemeanor one cannot be jailed for longer than a year. For a felony conviction, the maximum jail time has no limit. In any one case, a convicted person may serve less than the maximum, or even no time at all, but if the maximum is one year, the crime is a misdemeanor. If the maximum is more than one year, the crime is a felony. This is true for assault, as it is with all criminal charges in Michigan.
Felonious assault is outlined in Michigan Penal Code Section 750.82. In that section, the penal code explains that an assault that involves any dangerous weapon qualifies as a felony. A dangerous weapon can be just about anything, like brass knuckles, iron bar, club, knife or any type of gun. This is punishable by no more than four years or a fine up to $2,000, or both. Of course, these penalties increase depending on intent, where the felonious assault took place and whether injury or death occurred.
Misdemeanor assault is outlined in Section 750.81 of the Michigan Penal Code. If one does not use a dangerous weapon in the attack, the assault could be considered a misdemeanor, which is only punishable by up to 93 days or a fine of up to $500, or both. Though, a second conviction increases the jail time to up to 1 year or a fine up to $1,000, or both. And, if there are two or more convictions, the assault is upgraded to a felony, which carries up to a 5-year prison term and up to a $5,000 fine, or both.
What we can learn
There are three key takeaways here. First, there must be a conviction to face these penalties. Second, whether a dangerous weapon is involved can make all the difference. And, three, a strong criminal defense can be key for Troy, Michigan, residents to avoid the maximum penalties.