In Michigan, assaultive crimes range from simple assault to assault with intent to commit murder. Simple assault, domestic assault and aggravated assault are examples of misdemeanor cases, which are handled at the District Court level. Felonious assault (assault with a deadly weapon), assault with intent to commit great bodily harm less than murder (Assault GBH), and assault with intent to commit murder (AWIM) are examples of the more serious felony class of assaults.
Any assault involving the use of a firearm is potentially more serious. This is because the prosecutor can add the charge of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony (felony firearm). This charge adds a mandatory additional two-year prison term that runs consecutive to any other sentence you may receive for the principal crimes charged.
All assault charges are serious. The effect on your life of being convicted of an assault charge can be devastating. Although potential jail and prison sentences can range from 93 days for a simple assault to life in prison for assault with intent to commit murder, there are many other consequences that make any assault a serious charge. Judges routinely give heavy fines, costs, jail time, and probation for convictions of assault. As with other crimes, convictions of assault are generally published in the local newspaper and employers may be reluctant to hire someone with an assault record.
An aggressive defense lawyer is critical. In most assault cases, the prosecution relies heavily on the testimony of witnesses in order to prove its case. Typically, witnesses are agitated, excited, angry or intoxicated. In the hands of a skilled defense attorney, the testimony of such witnesses begins to fall apart. In felony cases, it is very important for the defense to cross-examine all of the potential prosecution witnesses at the preliminary examination.
Self-defense is a powerful tool. The prosecutor must prove that a defendant did not act in self-defense if the defense attorney properly raises this argument. In cases where the client has acted out of fear for their own safety, or the safety of others, it is important to have an attorney who knows how to present a strong argument for self-defense.
Thorough investigation of the case is vital. The attorney or private investigator working for the attorney should attempt to interview all witnesses prior to a preliminary examination or trial. The success of a trial may well depend on the skill and knowledge of the attorney. It is vital that your attorney be well prepared for an assault trial.
Call us today at 248-662-5499 for a free consultation and to discuss your options.