Is An Order Of Protection (PPO) Or A Restraining Order Automatically Put Into Place When Charges Related To Domestic Violence Are Filed In Michigan?

If someone is charged with domestic violence, there is no automatic restraining order or protection order for the complainant, or victim. The defendant is normally arraigned at the court, where bond conditions are set. The court will set what’s called a No Contact Order, which means the defendant cannot have any contact with the complainant. However, the complainant can always go into court and ask for contact or for limited contact (for instance, for the purposes of trying to deal with Friend of the Court issues for a child they have in common, or some other matter). The amount of contact allowed will be subjective with the court.

If An Alleged Victim Changes Their Story Or Doesn’t Want Charges To Be Filed Against The Accused, Will The Charges Be Dropped?

Interestingly, we have a policy in Michigan that tries to take away the decision-making from the complainant/victim in order to determine whether there should be charges filed and whether those charges should be followed through to court. The reasoning behind this policy was that the state wanted to make it easier for a victim to come forward and not feel pressured by their loved one or by their partner or spouse to drop the charges. Most of the time, the prosecutor’s officer becomes the complainant in the matter, and the original complainant/victim does not have a say whether or not charges are dropped. That is subjective though with each prosecutor’s office.

What Are The Penalties When Someone Is Convicted Of A Domestic Violence Charge In Michigan?

If it’s a first offense domestic violence (DV) case, it’s up to 93 days in the county jail. The offender cannot possess a weapon while on probation or after they’re convicted unless they go and get permission from the licensing authority. A second offense gets up to one year in the county jail, and a third or a greater offense is considered a felony charge with up to five years.

If you have no prior assault or domestic violence cases on your record, you might be eligible for MCL 769.4a, which is a statute that allows you to plead to the actual offense while being held in abeyance for the probationary period. If you go through the probation with its compliance terms (i.e., anger management, avoidance of any type of alcohol, court-ordered counseling), then at the end of the probationary period, the judge can dismiss the charge off your public record. The charge will, however, stay on your non-public record as a prior for them to see because you’re only eligible for that statute once.

An Overview Of Domestic Violence Charges In Michigan

Domestic Violence. Everyone knows the term domestic violence, but what does it mean for you if you’re charged with domestic violence and have to go through the court system to defend yourself? I am Scott Weinberg, a former prosecutor, and for over 20 years, I’ve represented hundreds of people who’ve been charged with domestic violence. So, listen closely because I’m going to tell you exactly what you need to do to protect yourself from a domestic violence charge here in Michigan.

First of all, do not plead guilty at your arraignment. You have to first talk to your attorney. The arraignment is the first critical stage of any court process, and this is especially important for domestic violence charges. The judge or the magistrate at the arraignment will set not only your bond, but also the conditions of your release. That’s why it’s important that you don’t go to this hearing without an attorney, someone who has been involved with hundreds of these cases. The judge will enforce what’s commonly known as a No Contact Order, which could mean you get kicked out of your house and legally blocked from seeing your loved ones if your hearing isn’t handled correctly. To repeat, under no circumstances should you go to this arraignment without your attorney.

Next, do not take advice from the prosecutor. Remember, the prosecutor represents the government, not you. You need someone on your side, someone who is your representative. The person who has to live with the decision is you, not the prosecutor, not the judge, but you. So, protect your record.

Finally, if this is your first assault charge, there are definitely circumstances where you can keep it under advisement, or off your record. One way to do this is called the Deferral Statute 769.4a, but not everyone is eligible. Make sure you know all about the statute before you go to court. A domestic violence case can be very difficult and emotional for you and your loved ones, but if you take it seriously from the beginning and get through it with the right attorney, you can help yourself and your family. Take care.

For more information on Domestic Violence Charges in Michigan, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (800) 710-0529 today. 

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