Domestic Violence Defense: Past Violence By Alleged Victim?

undefinedDomestic Violence Defense - What if the "Victim" is the Violent One? Can I Build a Defense From That? Michigan Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer Brian J. Prain Explains...

Short answer: absolutely - if the requirements of the law match up with the facts of your case, a Domestic Violence Defense can stem from the past violence of your accuser. In Michigan, Domestic Violence Defense breaks-down into several basic positions that someone accused of Domestic Violence under MCL 750.81 can take:

  1. 1) My accuser is completely lying. It (an unwanted harmful, violent, or offensive touching or attempted touching) didn't happen at all; and
  2. 2) Yes, there was a touching or attempted touching, but I acted in lawful defense of myself, another person, or my property.

This is not to suggest that Domestic Violence Defense is "simple" in any way, shape, or form. In-fact, it is rather complex, with a variety of specific statutes and rules that do not apply in other types of criminal charges. A Michigan Domestic Violence Defense lawyer who handles Domestic Violence Defense regularly in Michigan is most likely to be familiar with them.

Back to the question: "Can a Domestic Violence Defense arise from past violence by the alleged victim?" Yes. When your Domestic Violence Defense is based on number 2, above, that means that you are arguing Self-Defense or Defense of Others under the Michigan Self Defense Act, MCL 780.972, which applies when you are accused of a Michigan Domestic Violence charge. Click this link to see the law that applies to Domestic Violence Defense. Under the Self Defense Act and the accompanying Standard Criminal Jury Instruction 7.22 "Use of Non-deadly Force in Self-Defense or Defense of Others," the jurors are to evaluate your Domestic Violence Defense by looking at the situation through your eyes, not the accuser's - and to consider the way things appeared to YOU. At Trial, finally, Domestic Violence Defense is about you (and not what your accuser thinks should happen to you).

Every person has the right to use a controlled amount of physical force to defend his or her body and personal space. The Jury Instruction further says that in deciding whether your actions are reasonable, the jury may "also consider how the excitement of the moment affected the choice [you] made."

If your accuser has been violent in the past, and if your Domestic Violence Defense lawyer has done their homework, they will introduce evidence of their past violence at Trial. Following that, your Domestic Violence Defense lawyer should request that the Judge read a Jury Instruction that says "There has been evidence that the Complainant may have committed violent acts in the past and that the defendant knew about these acts. You may consider this evidence when you decide whether the defendant honestly and reasonably feared for his/her safety." This IS the law applicable to Michigan Domestic Violence Defense.

By hiring the right Michigan Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer who understands the law and how to use it in Court, you're already one step closer to being found NOT GUILTY of the crime of Domestic Violence. Why leave your future and freedom unprotected? Call Prain Law, PLLC, your Michigan Domestic Violence Defense Attorney right now at (248) 731-4543. Not in a talking mood but want answers? Use our email Contact Form.


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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.