Assault and Violent Crimes
If you’ve watched TV crime dramas over years, it may seem like assault and other violent crime take up most of a criminal court’s docket. However, when criminal charges arise from a fight or other violent conflict, they are not as common as you might think and are anything but entertaining. Since serious charges like assault and battery put your freedom at risk, you will need an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect you when you are accused of committing any type of violent crime.
Assault and Violent Crimes Explained
The Michigan Penal Code makes most acts of violence illegal. While simple assault is a misdemeanor, most violent crimes are felony offenses and put you at risk for extended jail or prison time. Violent crimes include charges of:
- Assault & Battery
- Breaking & Entering
Most of these crimes are classified in different degrees, depending on the harm done to the victim or the intent to accomplish something more than what actually occurred. For example, an assault charge might include:
- Simple assault
- Aggravated assault
- Domestic violence (assault against a family or household member)
- Assault with a dangerous weapon (sometimes called felonious assault)
- Assault with the intent to rob
- Assault with the intent to do great bodily harm less than murder
- Assault with the intent to murder
Aggravating circumstances such as these increase the severity of the assault charge and their penalties.
Self-Defense and Violent Crimes
Assault and other violent crimes lend themselves to defenses like self-defense and defense of others. These are claims asserted and proven by the defendant instead of the prosecutor in an effort to justify the alleged criminal behavior. They aren’t always easy to win, but a successful self-defense claim can avoid any penalty from assault to homicide.
If you didn’t start the fight or were acting out of fear of harm to yourself or others, you need the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney to develop your self-defense case and present your best legal argument to the jury. At the Peter J. Johnson Law Office, our criminal defense attorneys have been handling criminal trials for decades. We know how to tell your side of the story so the jury will believe it and find you not guilty of a violent crime.
The Effect of Victim Involvement in Violent Crimes Cases
Unlike other areas of the law, violent crimes always involve a victim – the intended target of the violence. The victim could be a person on the receiving end of a fist or a business that was looted or damaged. In any violent crimes case, the victim’s involvement can significantly impact the legal outcome. If your case goes to trial, the victim’s testimony is often the most emotional and impactful part of the prosecutor’s case. If you decide to take a plea, they will be asked to present a Victim Impact Statement which can influence the judge ultimately leading to a heavier sentence.
The effect of criminal activity on victims is also considered in the state’s sentencing guidelines. This is a grid of factors that apply to every felony conviction in Michigan. They provide a framework for judges in deciding criminal sentences – from probation to life imprisonment. The factors include variables like: the number of victims, harm done to them, whether there were children or vulnerable people involved, and other defining circumstances. Depending on the unique circumstances of your case, the victim’s involvement can significantly increase the penalty you face for any violent crime.
At the Peter J. Johnson Law Office, our criminal defense attorneys have decades of experience working with the unique combinations of these Michigan sentencing guidelines. We know what evidence to look for, how to effectively challenge victim statements, and how to advocate for fair sentencing under the Michigan sentencing guidelines.
Contact us to schedule your free consultation with an experienced violent crimes defense attorney who will provide honest and aggressive representation while defending you against assault and violent crime charges to protect your freedom, all while being your strongest advocate before Southwest Michigan’s prosecutors, judges, and juries.
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