In Berkley, Michigan, a domestic violence arrest can disrupt your entire life. If you are convicted, you could face severe penalties – prison time, steep fines, and lasting damage to your reputation and personal life.
The best way to clear your name is with the help of a top domestic violence criminal defense lawyer who specializes in cases just like yours. Having the right legal representation can mean the difference between dismissed charges, an acquittal, and a misdemeanor or felony criminal record that stays with you for the rest of your life.
Domestic Violence Legal Definition
Per Michigan law, “domestic violence” does not refer to a specific crime – it is the blanket term used to describe the circumstances surrounding certain unlawful actions and behaviors where the alleged perpetrator and victim have a preexisting or former domestic relationship:
- Intimate partner
- Dating relationship
- Anyone who has a child together
- Live or have lived in the same household
- A minor child of any of the above
Incidents involving other social, business, or casual relationships are not considered examples of domestic violence. This important legal distinction makes a huge difference that an experienced Berkley domestic violence criminal defense attorney can use to your advantage.
Examples of Domestic Violence
Any attempts to intimidate, harm, track, or control someone who is/was a family or household member can be classified as domestic violence, including:
This legal standard gives the Oakland County District Attorney complete discretion on whether or not to prosecute and even what criminal charges to file.
In Michigan, domestic violence is not considered a “private” crime, where the alleged victim decides whether or not to press charges. The Oakland County DA can choose to prosecute in a Berkley domestic assault case, even when the victim refuses to cooperate.
Penalties for Domestic Violence
Many different crimes can be prosecuted as domestic violence, so the penalties if convicted can vary widely. The criminal charge can be filed as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on:
- The specific act or behavior
- If the victim was injured
- The use of a weapon was involved
- Your criminal history
- If the domestic assault involved strangulation or suffocation
Domestic assault and/or battery is a misdemeanor, with a maximum penalty of 93 days in jail and a $500 fine.
If you have any prior domestic violence convictions, however, the penalties worsen considerably:
- One prior (Misdemeanor) – Up to 1 year in prison and/or a fine of up to $1000
- Two or more priors (Felony) – Up to 5 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5000
The previous conviction does not have to involve the same victim to trigger enhanced penalties.
If the victim was injured and required medical attention, it is a misdemeanor domestic assault charge, punishable by up to 1 year in prison, a $1000 fine, or both.
In this case, a prior conviction triggers the enhanced penalties, resulting in a domestic violence felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison, up to $5000 fine, or both.
The penalties could be even greater – if the victim was suffocated or suffocated, if there was provable intent to maim the victim or otherwise do great bodily harm, or if a weapon was involved. Each of these are domestic violence felony carrying a 10-year prison sentence.
The Best Domestic Violence Law Firm in Berkley, Michigan
Founder Nicole Blank Becker has argued domestic violence cases on both sides of the law for over 20 years, serving as both a Macomb County Assistant Prosecutor and now as private defense counsel. With Macomb County, Nicole was the Chief of the Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Crimes Units.
That is 50-plus years of relevant experience, expertise, and skill that should immediately be put to work for your domestic violence defense.
Contact Nicole or Chris TODAY for a free consultation.
Where Are Berkley Domestic Violence Cases Tried?
The 44th District Court serves the cities of Royal Oak and Berkley.
400 E. 11 Mile Road
Royal Oak, MI 48067
The Sixth Circuit Court is located in Pontiac and serves Oakland County.
1200 N. Telegraph Rd
Pontiac, MI 48341
Berkley Domestic Violence Judges
44th District Court in Royal Oak
Sixth Circuit Court in Pontiac
Oakland County Prosecutor
Special Victims Unit
44th District Court and 6th Circuit Court Parking
There are several parking lots for the 44th District Court, all located to the south of the complex.
The main parking lot for the Sixth Circuit Court is on the south of the complex, with additional paid parking nearby, at 159-198 W. Ann Street.
If you are going to be in town for the day and need to grab lunch or celebrate with a victory meal, here are some options close to the courthouse.
121 N. Main Street
207 S. Main Street
105 S. Main Street
310 S. Main Street
775 Baldwin Ave.
670 Cesar E. Chavez Ave.
806 Baldwin Ave.