Domestic Violence Laws Get Tougher in Michigan: New 5 Year Prison Max

Domestic Violence Attorney Explains Michigan's Tough New Domestic Violence Sentencing Laws

The Law Office of Brian J. Prain, PLLC concentrates on defending those facing Domestic Violence charges (also called Domestic Assault charges) in the Courts throughout the State of Michigan. Being a Michigan Domestic Violence attorney provides many unique challenges, like dealing with tough new legislation that punishes certain people facing Michigan Domestic Violence charges more severely, and shows how our government and our communities (and therefore our Judges and Juries) feel about Domestic Violence cases. Click the link below and we will get into the details on these new laws.

First, Michigan has a special law where, under MCL 769.4a, a person facing a Domestic Violence or Aggravated Domestic Violence charge, who has never been convicted of either crime before, can enter a plea of guilty, but "without an adjudication of guilt" by the court. Where the evidence is damaging, and a dismissal or reduced charge is not possible, a good Domestic Violence attorney in Michigan nevertheless always attempts to get this plea for their clients, often called the Michigan Domestic Violence Deferral. You can only use this Deferral once in a lifetime.

If your Domestic Violence attorney can get you the Deferral, you go on probation, it can be tough, and the Court can give Jail time, too (although this has always been avoided for our clients). But when you finish successfully, your permanent private (LEIN) and public (CCH) records are cleared of the arrest and conviction; only the State Police and the original District Court know that you were arrested on a Domestic Violence charge.

Under the old law, this prior case where you got the Deferral did not count as a "prior conviction" for Domestic Violence if you were ever convicted of Domestic Violence again [for a Domestic Violence Second Offense (conviction), the possible Jail time increases from 93 days to 1 whole year]. Under the new law, MCL 769.4a(5), your previous Domestic Violence Deferral that "went away" now counts as a prior conviction, and you face up to 1 year in Jail, or worse if you have 2 or more "priors," or if you are charged with Aggravated Domestic Violence (now 5 years max in Prison, see below). You should consult a Michigan Domestic Violence lawyer for more details on fighting your charges.

Second, the law used to be that if you had 1 prior Domestic Violence charge and your Domestic Violence attorney got you the Deferral under MCL 769.4a and it "went away," but then you were later convicted of Aggravated Domestic Violence under MCL 750.81a, you faced up to 1 year in Jail. Now, your past Deferral counts as a "prior conviction," and the law has also changed to make the new Aggravated Domestic Violence conviction a Felony, and exposing you to a maximum of 5 years in Prison instead of only 2 years. This is pretty major - if you're in this situation, call an experienced Michigan Domestic Violence attorney immediately for consultation.

Finally, the law used to be that if you had 2 or more prior Domestic Violence or Aggravated Domestic Violence convictions (or a combination - 1 of each, remembering that the new law says even a Deferral under MCL 769.4a is now a "prior conviction," too), another Domestic Violence, third offense is a Felony, and the maximum penalty increases from 2 years to 5 years in Prison. All of these new changes become effective on April 1, 2013.

We understand - this stuff is confusing. And what you (or your lawyer, believe it or not) don't understand can put your freedom and your future in jeopardy. Confidentially call The Law Office of Brian J. Prain, PLLC, your Michigan Domestic Violence Attorney to set-up a sit-down consultation - it's free, it can't hurt you, and it can only help!


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Prain Law, PLLC is focused only on the types charges featured on our website. This helps us deliver the decisive, effective advocacy for which our clients know us. We only serve individuals currently under investigation or who have a current case pending in court. Our firm does not represent injury victims, defendants who have already taken a plea or have been sentenced, or those seeking to expunge a criminal record. We do not respond to anyone who is not involved in a pending investigation or who has a court case for a type of charge we do not handle, but we wish you the very best of luck.