Michigan Attorney For Domestic Violence Charge In Michigan – What Are Penalties? Jail? Need Help.

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Received 3/22/10:

I need a Michigan domestic violence attorney for a charge in Warren Michigan. I have never been in trouble with the law in my life and I have just been charged with domestic violence and have a court date in Warren, Michigan at the 37th District Court.

The short version of the story is that my wife and I have had a lot of financial problems after losing my job a year and a half ago, we are losing our house and think we may need to file bankruptcy, we have talked about divorce, we have 2 kids ages 8 and 11 and we have been fighting a lot lately.  Recently we were arguing my wife said some really hurtful things and some pushing and shoving went back and forth between us.  The police were called and I was arrested.  Now I am writing this from my parent’s house because the judge would not let me go back home or have any contact with my wife at all!  I have no idea how long this will last but apparently if I even call her on the phone I will go to jail.

My mother in law called me and said my wife is sorry and called the Warren police to drop the domestic violence charges against me but they said they couldnt drop the case now that the prosecutor was involved and my wife will be notified when they need her in court to testify against me!  The way the judge was talking to me the day after I was arrested I felt like I might be going to jail for this and I have never been in trouble in my life!

Do I need to hire a Michigan domestic violence attorney, or should I just stick with a court appointed attorney because of our financial stuation?  I really do not have a money right now to deal with this.  I have called my court appointed lawyer 3 times since he was appointed to me and he wont even call me back – I almost feel like just handling the case myself rather than having this idiot  handle this case.  What is this no contact requirement ordered by the judge? Why wont they listen to my wife and drop these charges?  What are the penalties for domestic violence and what can I expect?  AM I going to jail?  Also, I am a hunter and the police took my shotgun and my .30/06 for deer hunting that I got from my grandfather, will I ever get these back? 

I feel like that I am already being treated like I am guilty of domestic violence and I haven’t even had a trial.  I need a domestic violence attorney in Michigan to help protect me from what I feel is unfair prosecution.  I seriously want to sue the police for harassment.  I am not a wife beater – we just had a fight like any other couple has in our situation, times are tough, and now I am facing domestic violence charges.

From: NOT a Wife Beater


No, your spouse cannot “drop” the Domestic Violence charges against you in Michigan, and yes, you unquestionably need a Michigan criminal defense attorney from Canu Torrice Law to represent you in your Domestic Violence case in Warren, Michigan’s 37th Judicial District Court. 

The link below is from another blog post on this website that addresses Domestic Violence cases in Michigan and why these charges cannot be dropped by the alleged victim/complaining witness:


If you are charged with any form of Domestic Violence in Michigan (or when you are charged with any crime for that matter), no matter whether it is in a big city like Detroit, Warren or Lansing, or a small town like Port Huron, Big Rapids, or Roscommon, you are a fool if you do not hire the best criminal defense attorney you can possibly afford.  Many of our clients who have been through the Michigan criminal justice system without a qualified criminal defense attorney has learned this fact the hard way.   

When facing the possibility of jail, probation, thousands of dollars in fines, probation, up to 36 weeks or more of anger management counseling (that you have to pay for also), the fact that you may never be able to own or possess a firearm again, and you will be labeled as a “criminal” for the rest of your life with a conviction on your record for a “violent” criminal offense – you better not rely on some court appointed lawyer to handle your case unless you have absolutely no other alternative.   If you are going through or about to go through a divorce in Michigan and are charged with domestic violence, this is also very important because many times your “soon to be ex” spouse will try to use such a conviction against you and limit your parenting time and your ability to see your own children.

We always encourage our clients to use their emergency credit cards, borrow from friends and family, take out a loan, or do whatever else is necessary to retain one of the Michigan Domestic Violence attorneys at Canu Torrice Law to vigorously and aggressively defend against these charges because the consequences are so severe. 

Domestic Violence (or “DV” as it is commonly referred to by prosecutors and defense attorneys in Michigan) is one of the most commonly prosecuted crimes throughout the State of Michigan and carries with it some very serious consequences.  Domestic Violence is merely an “assault and/or battery” that has been given a special label by the Michigan legislature when the incident occurs between current or former spouses, siblings, someone who you are (or were) dating, someone you have a child with, or a resident of your house.   Domestic Violence results from a variety of situations and may result from an argument where you throw an object, like a TV remote, at someone during an argument (even if they are not hit or injured), or where you actually grab the other person by the arm or shove them without serious injury, or where the argument escalates and some physical altercation resulting in actual harm occurs. 

However, contrary to the general public notion that Domestic Violence always results from a husband beating their wife to the point of serious injury, many of the Domestic Violence cases in Michigan that Canu Torrice Law have encountered do not result in very serious injuries to the alleged victim, and many times no injury whatsoever occurs.   In our experience, what happens quite often is that a husband and wife, boyfriend and girlfriend, etc. are fighting, the argument gets heated, and then someone calls the police Many times the person that calls the police is not even the alleged victim, but rather a neighbor or someone who hears the argument, and afterwards someone is arrested and their life is changed for the worse because the police and the prosecutor are not involved in an argument that should have stayed behind closed doors. 


The charge of Domestic Violence is a misdemeanor crime under Michigan state law, specifically MCL 750.81, which states, in relevant part:

an individual who assaults or assaults and batters his or her spouse or former spouse, an individual with whom he or she has or has had a dating relationship, an individual with whom he or she has had a child in common, or a resident or former resident of his or her household, is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 93 days or a fine of not more than $500.00 or both.

Second offenders under Michigan’s Domestic Violence law are subject to enhanced penalties as well.  An individual who has a prior conviction for a Domestic Violence in Michigan and is convicted a second time for Domestic Violence faces increased penalties of up to one (1) year in jail, or a fine of not more than $1,000.00, or both.  An individual with two (2) prior convictions of Domestic Violence in Michigan who is convicted for a third time faces a possible penalty of two (2) years imprisonment in the Michigan Department of Corrections (“MDOC” . . .meaning possible prison time) or a fine of not more than $2,500.00, or both.

Under Michigan’s Domestic Violence law there are also separate criminal charges for “Aggravated Domestic Assault,” MCL 750.81a, which provides for more severe penalties for defendants convicted of Domestic Violence where the assault and battery causes a serious or aggravated injury upon the alleged victim.  Under the Aggravated Domestic Violence statute in Michigan, the possible penalties increase to up to one (1) year in jail, or a fine of not more than $1,000.00, or both, for first time offenders, and for second time offenders the penalties further increase to up to two (2) years MDOC (prison) or a fine of $2,500.00, or both.

In addition to the above penalties, any  Domestic Violence conviction in Michigan also carries some strict probationary terms that can last for up to two (2) years or longer depending on the crime charged, with quite burdensome requirements as intensive anger management counseling programs for up to 36 consecutive weeks (or more), random drug and alcohol testing, reporting probation, no possession of any weapons or firearms of any sort (including for hunting or recreation, not just handguns for self defense), community service, and various other probationary terms.  If you are convicted of Domestic Violence in Michigan you also will never be able to own a firearm again. Period.

Also, regarding your question about the court’s bond condition in Warren, after someone is arrested for Domestic Violence anywhere in Michigan, the magistrate or judge automatically imposes a “no contact” order as a condition of that person’s bond, which means that you are not allowed to call, visit, text, IM, mail, e-mail or even send a message or communicate through a third party with your spouse, your significant other, etc. until the court orders otherwise.  Usually this no contact order can only be changed or modified with the consent of the prosecutor, the complaining witness/victim, and the judge.   This may mean that you cannot speak to your wife for several months, or longer if the order continues as part of the court’s sentence if you are convicted of Domestic Violence.

 If you are charged with Domestic Violence anywhere in Michigan you need the talent and experience of one of the Domestic Violence defense attorneys from Canu Torrice Law to protect your rights and fight for a dismissal of your case to keep a Domestic Violence conviction off your record.  In your situation, when the complaining witness seems uncooperative and unwilling to pursue the charges, our attorneys have a very high success rate of having these cases dismissed at trial. 

However, even when the complaining witness is being uncooperative and pressing the issue, and it seems like there is no way to beat your case at trial, the attorneys at Canu Torrice Law have an solution to keep this charge off your record.   Those who plea guilty to Domestic Violence as a first time offender in Michigan are eligible to have the case taken “under advisement” under Michigan law, MCL 769.4a if the attorneys at Canu Torrice Law can convince the prosecutor and the judge to agree to this disposition.  The deferral plea allows the defendant to be placed on a term of probation (generally about one year), usually conditioned on attendance and completion of an anger management program authorized by the Court.  Upon successful completion of all the terms and conditions of the probation, the person is discharged from probation and the case is dismissed by the Court and you will have no criminal record, and the conviction is maintained as a non-public record.   There is no need for an “expungement” or a motion to set aside conviction to be filed with the Court, the dismissal and expungement of your record is automatic.  Additionally, while you are on probation no conviction for Domestic Violence will be placed on your record.  However, under Michigan law a defendant may only have one discharge and dismissal of their Domestic Violence charge under this section on their first offense, so this does not apply to second or subsequent offenders charged with Domestic Violence.

At Canu Torrice Law we have defended thousands of Domestic Violence cases throughout the State of Michigan.  We are well aware of the serious impact a Domestic Violence case has on your life, and we vigorously defend our clients in these cases and fight for a dismissal.  Unlike other attorneys, our goal is to have your Domestic Violence charge dismissed completely, and we do not “plea bargain” unless there is no other alternative.  Contact our Michigan Domestic Violence defense attorneys at (586) 285-1700 today for your free consultation!

Peter A. Torrice

& Torrice, PLLC / Canu Torrice Law


Call (586) 285-1700 (24 hours a day/ 7 days a week / 365 days a year)


  1. Charri on March 29, 2010 at 5:49 pm said:

    Great article on domestic violence in Michigan thank you . I was looking for info for someone I work with and this helped im giving him your number. Im sure glad no one called the police on me all the times my brother n I got into it in high school Id have went to jail for sure. You guys are really nice to take the time and answer these ?s for free. My divorce lawyer would charge me for just making a phone call lol.

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