Michigan Assault and Self Defense Laws

undefinedMichigan Assault Defense Attorney Discusses How the Michigan Self Defense, Act Works

As an effective Michigan AssaultAttorney, I defend those accused of (simple) Assault, Assault and Battery, Domestic Assault, Aggravated Assault, Felonious Assault, (to name a few) in Michigan Courts on a daily basis. If you find yourself facing any one of these charges you may very well be asking yourself the question of whether or not you could invoke the legal theory ofself defense in your case.

Let's take a look at how the Michigan Self Defense Act works - it may surprise you!

Self Defense is applicable to more situations than people charged with these assaultive crimes tend to believe, at first. You may not have been aware that Michiganhas aSelf Defense, Act MCL 780.971, et seq. It reads exactly as follows with regard to the use of non-deadly force inSelf Defense:

"[a]n individual who has not or is not engaged in the commission of a crime at the time he or she uses force, other than deadly force, may use force, other than deadly force, against another individual anywhere he or she has the legal right to be with no duty to retreat if he or she honestly and reasonable believes that the use of that force is necessary to defend himself or herself or another individual from the imminent unlawful use of force by another individual."

Throughout the years, the Michigan Assault case law that has developed around the Self Defense Act, and the common law of Self Defense itself, has greatly expanded and profoundly complicated the scenarios of when you can and cannot claim self defense.

Here are the general principles of Self Defense when facing a Michigan Assault charge:

1) you have the right to use force to defend yourself under certain circumstances. If you act in lawful self defense or defense of others, your actions are justified, and you are not guilty of the 'Assault' you are charged with.

2) in a Michigan Assault charge, your conduct will be judged according to how the circumstances appeared to you at the time (moment) of the incident.

3) at the time of the incident, you must not have been engaged in the commission of a crime (i.e. unlawful entry into the home or building of another, etc.)

4) you must have honestly and reasonably believed that you had to use force to protect yourself from the imminent unlawful use of force by another. If, during the trial of a Michigan Assault charge, a Judge or Jury finds that your belief was honest and reasonable, it means you were allowed to act right away to defend yourself. You DO NOT have to wait until the other person touches you, grabs you, or hits you, in order to hit them. (this is true even if later it turns out that you were wrong about how much danger you were in).

5) to beat the Michigan Assault charge using the Self Defense Act, you are only allowed to use the degree of force that seems necessary at the time to protect yourself from danger. You must have used the kind of force that was appropriate to the attack made and the circumstances as you saw them. When the Judge or Jury decides whether the force you used was what seemed necessary, they will consider whether you knew about any other ways of protecting yourself. However, they are also allowed to consider how the excitement of the moment affected the choice you made. As the Michigan Supreme Court once stated, "a person in a state of excitement cannot be expected to make fine distinctions as to the extent of injuries likely to be inflicted and, thus, the amount of force needed for self-defense".

6) the right to defend yourself lasts only as long as seems necessary for the purpose of protection.

7) you must not have acted wrongfully in the first place to bring about the assault.

A good Michigan Assault Attorney understands the finer details of the law and can, even without going to Trial, present your case to the Prosecuting Attorney in a light that shows the high likelihood of Self Defense, encouraging the best possible plea deal (if applicable and/or the defendant is interested).

If you are facing a Michigan Assault, Assault and Battery, Aggravated Assault, or any of the various types of Felonious Assault charges, call our office today at (248) 731-4543. All phone conversations and emails are privileged and confidential, and our initial consultation is free.

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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.