Assault and Battery Attorney in Michigan
“Assault” and “battery,” although often used together or synonymously, are legally distinct concepts. “Battery” refers to “a forceful, violent, or offensive touching of the person or something closely connected with the person of another.” In other words, if you “batter” someone, you’ve committed a battery. “Assault,” on the other hand, refers to (1) “an act that would cause a reasonable person to fear or apprehend an immediate battery,” or (2) an attempted battery. The distinction between assault and battery, though, often collapses, and both crimes are colloquially referred to as “assault and battery” or even just “assault.” What’s more, the penalties are often the same regardless of whether you’ve technically committed an assault or a battery.
There are several varieties of assault and battery, running the gamut from minor misdemeanors all the way to capital offenses. Here are some of the most common forms of assault and battery that our Michigan violent crime lawyers see in our practice.
Simple Assault and Battery
If you commit a run-of the-mill battery (i.e., you hit someone) or if you try to commit a battery or if you make a person think you’re about to batter them, you’re liable for simple assault and battery. It’s a misdemeanor punishable by up to 93 days in jail and a $500 fine.
As the name implies, this is the simplest form of assault and battery. More severe forms typically involve certain aggravating factors. As you’ll see, these factors are usually fairly self-explanatory.
If you try to physically injure someone and cause them to suffer a “severe or aggravated injury,” you’ve committed aggravated assault. A “severe or aggravated injury” is defined as “a physical injury that requires immediate medical treatment or that causes disfigurement, impairment of health, or impairment of a part of the body.” Aggravated assault is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of $1,000.
Assault with Intent to Do Great Bodily Harm Less than Murder
If you try to physically injure someone with the intent to cause them great bodily harm, you’re on the hook for assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder, also called “assault GBH,” “AWIGBH,” or simply “GBH.” “Great bodily harm” is defined in the law as “any physical injury that could seriously harm the health or function of the body.” An actual injury, though, is not necessary. GBH is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Assault with a dangerous weapon (felonious assault)
Assault with a dangerous weapon is a simple assault or battery committed with—you guessed it—a dangerous weapon. It’s frequently referred to as “felonious assault.” A dangerous weapon is “any object that is used in a way that is likely to cause serious physical injury or death.” Most cases that we see involve guns and knives, although there are reported cases involving broomsticks, aerosol spray cans, and even dogs. Felonious assault is, of course, a felony, and it’s punishable by up to 4 years in prison.
Assault with intent to commit a felony
If you commit an assault while also intending to commit a felony, you’re responsible for assault with intent to commit a felony. Under the law, it does not matter whether your attempt to commit the felony was actually successful. Assault with intent to commit a felony is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Assault with intent to rob while armed
An assault committed with a dangerous weapon and with the intent to rob is referred to as assault with intent to rob while armed. Under the law, you don’t need to actually complete the robbery in order to be on the hook. And, notably, assault with intent to rob while armed is a capital offense, meaning its punishable by up to life in prison.
Assault with intent to murder
Finally, if you try to physically injure someone with the intent to kill them, you’ve committed assault with intent to murder, referred to as “AWIM.” Just like murder itself, it’s a capital offense punishable by up to life in prison.
There’s one wrinkle here. A person can only be guilty of AWIM if he or she would have been guilty of murder had the victim actually died. In some cases, if the victim had actually died, the killing would have been voluntary manslaughter, a lesser offense. Voluntary manslaughter is a killing committed in the heat of passion after being provoked.
Contact us right away
Every assault and battery case is unique. Regardless of the circumstances of your case, you’ll need an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney on your side. Contact us online or call us at our 24/7 defense hotline at 1-800-342-7896.