Aggravated Domestic Violence: How Is It Defined in Michigan?

Aggravated Domestic Violence in Michigan - What Makes a Regular Domestic Violence "Aggravated"? How Can I Fight the Charge?

Prain Law, PLLC concentrates its Michigan criminal defense practice especially on Assault crimes, which includes Domestic Violence and Aggravated Domestic Violence Under MCL 750.81a (also called Aggravated Domestic Assault). With our specialized knowledge of Michigan's Assault laws, we understand the details that others miss! If you or someone you know is facing this charge in Michigan, you should first know that both Domestic Violence (DV) and Aggravated Domestic Violence (ADV) are forms of Assault.

Michigan law defines "Assault" as: "An attempt to commit a battery or an unlawful act that places another in reasonable apprehension of receiving an immediate battery . . . [coupled with] an intent to injure or an intent to put the victim in reasonable fear or apprehension of an immediate battery." ~ People v. Joeseype Johnson

When using the term "Assault" we are often actually referring to "Assault and Battery", which means that there was an actual touching. "A forceful, violent, or offensive touching of the person or something closely connected with the person . . . which was intended by the defendant, that is - not accidental - and it must have been against [the complainant’s] will. It does not matter whether the touching caused an injury" - Criminal Jury Instruction 2d 17.2.

'DV', simply stated, is an Assault upon someone in a "domestic" relationship. [Click the following link for articles about normal Domestic Violence charges.] For 'DV' to become an 'ADV' (in Michigan under MCL 750.81a(2), it must meet the definition of Assault or Assault and Battery (above), plus it must result in a "Serious or Aggravated Injury" ( MCL 750.81a).

But what is a "Serious or Aggravated Injury?" Let us explain . . .

A "Serious or Aggravated Injury" is an injury that satisfies any of the following 4 definitions:

  1. It requires immediate medical treatment;
  2. It causes disfigurement;
  3. It causes impairment of health; or
  4. It causes impairment of a part of the body

So...if someone in Michigan commits DVresulting in any of the above 4 types of physical injury, they will likely be charged with Aggravated Domestic Violence under the applicable Michigan law, MCL 750.81a, and could be sentenced to up to 1 year in County Jail. This makes the "Aggravated" version a very serious Misdemeanor charge, and a conviction resulting in a permanent record, accessible to all members of the public, including potential colleges, employers, etc.

If you have been researching, you're probably wondering: "can I get a deferral (MCL 769.4a) for Aggravated Domestic Violence?" It is possible to get a deferral if you have never been convicted of any Assault crime before! This special program, MCL 769.4a, can allow you to avoid a public conviction. [Click the link in this sentence for tons more information about MCL 769.4a - it could be your best bet when facing this kind of charge]. However, if you have used a deferral in the past,the new law (Michigan Public Act 550 of 2012 - effective April 1, 2013) states that any prior use of MCL 769.4a, will be treated as a "conviction". In other words, you can only use MCL 769.4a once.

But, difficulties like these don't usually arise with a plain ol' Domestic Violence charge, so talk to a Michigan Domestic Violence Attorney at Prain Law, PLLC. We're different!

Michigan Assault charges are our area of concentration! Due to our exceptional and extraordinary knowledge regarding these types of cases, we get results. Contact Prain Law, PLLC confidentially for a free consultation right away, by calling (248) 731-4543, or by filling out the 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.