Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior perpetrated by an intimate partner against another. It is an epidemic affecting individuals in every community, regardless of age, economic status, race, religion, sex, nationality or educational background. Physical abuse is often accompanied by emotionally abusive and controlling behavior, and thus is part of a systematic pattern of dominance and control. Domestic violence results in physical injury, psychological trauma, and sometimes death. The consequences of domestic violence can cross generations and truly last a lifetime.

What is the legal definition of Domestic Violence in Michigan? And what are the penalties?
Misdemeanor Domestic Violence is when a defendant makes an assault or an assault and battery upon another who:

  • they have a child in common with, or
  • is a resident or former resident of the same household, or
  • is their spouse or former spouse, or
  • they have a dating relationship with

The first offense is punishable by a maximum of 93 days in jail and/or $500.00 fine.

The second offense is punishable by 1 Year and/or $1,000.00.

The third offense is punishable by 2 Years and/or $2,500.00.

What is the legal definition of Aggravated Domestic Violence in Michigan? And what are the penalties?
An assault upon a victim, without a weapon, and did inflict serious or aggravated injury upon victim, but without intending to commit murder or to inflict great bodily harm less than murder.

This is punishable by a maximum of 1 year in jail and/or $1,000.00.

The second offense is punishable by 2 Years and/or $2,500.00.

What is a delayed sentence?
If the defendant has never been convicted of any assaultive crime before, he/she may be eligible for a Delayed Sentence. This is a one-time opportunity for a defendant, provided by statute.

Delayed Sentencing is explained as follows: If the defendant pleads guilty, and has never been convicted of any assaultive crime in the past, he/she may be placed on a term of court supervision (length of term to be determined by the Judge), with court costs and/or restitution if required. This term of court supervision is usually monitored by the Probation Department, but may be monitored directly by the Court. If during that term of court supervision the defendant has no further assaultive, threatening or intimidating behavior, and does not violate any other terms of court supervision, the case will be dismissed at the end of the specified term.

Delayed Sentencing is most often when the victim agrees to it, however, the final decision on whether or not the defendant is granted a Delayed Sentence is up the Court.

If you are the victim of a Domestic Violence please fill out and submit this Delayed Sentence Form to let us know your feelings on this matter because it can affect how this case proceeds.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I am a victim of Domestic Violence?
Call the police. If you feel you are in danger from your abuser at any time, you can call 911 or your local police.

Consider the following:

  • If you are in danger when the police come, they can protect you.
  • They can help you and your children leave your home safely.
  • They can arrest your abuser when they have enough proof that you have been abused.
  • They can arrest your abuser if a personal protection order (PPO) has been violated.
  • When the police come, tell them everything the abuser did that made you call.
  • If you have been hit, tell the police where. Tell them how many times it happened. Show them any marks left on your body. Marks may take time to show up. If you see a mark after the police leave, call the police to take pictures of the marks. They may be used in court.
  • If your abuser has broken any property, show the police.
  • The police can give you information on domestic violence programs and shelters.
  • The police must make a report saying what happened to you. Police reports can be used in court if your abuser is charged with a crime.
  • Get the officers' names, badge numbers, and the report number in case you need a copy of the report.
  • A police report can be used to help you get a PPO.

How can I protect myself in an emergency situation?
If you are at home and you are being threatened or attacked:

  • Stay away from the kitchen (the abuser can easily find weapons there)
  • Stay away from bathrooms, closets or small spaces where the abuser can trap you
  • Get to a room with a door or window to escape
  • Get to a room with a phone to call for help; lock the abuser outside if you can
  • Call 911 (or your local emergency number) right away for help; get the dispatcher's name
  • Think about a neighbor or friend you can run to for help
  • If a police officer comes, tell him/her what happened; get his/her name & case complaint number

Find a safe place. It is not fair. You should not have to leave your home because of what your abuser has done, but sometimes it is the only way you will be safe. There are shelters that can help you move to a different city or state. The Victim's Rights Unit can put you in touch with them.

What can I do to protect myself at home?
  • Keep a phone in a room you can lock from the inside; if you can, get a cellular phone that you keep with you at all times
  • If the abuser has moved out, change the locks on your door; get locks on the windows
  • Plan an escape route out of your home; teach it to your children
  • Think about where you would go if you need to escape
  • Ask your neighbors to call the police if they see the abuser at your house; make a signal for them to call the police; for example, if the phone rings twice, a shade is pulled down, or a light is on
  • Pack a bag with important things you'd need if you had to leave quickly; put it in a safe place, or give it to a friend or relative you trust
  • Include cash, car keys & important information such as: court papers, passport or birth certificates, medical records & medicines, immigration papers
  • Get an unlisted phone number
  • Block your phone number
  • Use an answering machine; screen the calls
What are some of the warning signs of abusive behavior?
  • S/he is extremely jealous.
  • Wants to know where you are at all times.
  • Gets upset if you spend time with friends or family.
  • Holds rigid expectations of family members.
  • S/he expects you to meet his/her emotional needs.
  • Blames others and you for his/her problems.
  • Threatens you with violence.
Do something before it's too late!
 
What do we know about abusers?
  • They try to isolate victims from family and friends
  • They minimize and deny their behavior
  • They veil power and control over others
  • They blame victims
  • They distrust others
  • They often have been victims or witnessed abuse
  • They usually have low self-esteem
  • They are not in touch with their own feelings
What Victims of Domestic Violence Need to Know
  • The abuse is not your fault
  • You don't deserve to be abused
  • You can't change someone who is abusive
  • Staying in the relationship won't stop the abuse
  • With time the abuse always gets worse
  • If you stay, make a plan to keep yourself safe when the abuse happens again

Our office will not disclose your information to the defendant or the defense attorney.



Contact Information

St. Clair County Prosecuting Attorney
201 McMorran Blvd., Suite 3300
Port Huron, MI 48060

Phone: (810) 985-2400
Fax: (810) 985-2424
Email: Prosecuting Attorney

Photos courtesy of the Port Huron Times Herald and St. Clair County Sheriff's Department