Grand Rapids Domestic Violence Lawyer
Domestic Violence is the type of charge that can singlehandedly alter the course of your life. The punishment can range from jail, probation, and fines, to required attendance in anger management classes, and required court checkups. Further, as a consequence, you can be denied contact with your significant other, your children, and you can be removed from your home altogether with a Judge’s order not allowing you to go back at all! Did you know that a conviction for a Domestic Violence makes it Federally illegal for you to own a firearm? The courts in Grand Rapids and all over the State of Michigan do NOT take this type of charge lightly, so it is important that you expect the full force of the Prosecutor in Domestic Violence cases. If you are accused of a Domestic Violence crime in the Grand Rapids area, then you are in the right place with Grabel & Associates. Our Grand Rapids domestic violence attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience in successfully defending domestic violence crimes in the State of Michigan in our Grand Rapids office conveniently located here.
Domestic Violence In Grand Rapids
A domestic violence is most simply an assault in addition to some sort of relationship with the alleged victim. The relationship to the alleged victim can be an intimate one (marriage, dating, child in common, etc.) or can simply be a family member or roommate. Uncontrolled emotion is common with these types of cases due to the nature of “closeness” in a domestic violence case. Repeat offenders get elevated charges with harsher consequences when dealing with domestic violence cases. NOTE: A domestic violence conviction can be the sole cause of a defendant’s deportation if they are not a citizen.
A domestic violence charge can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony depending on the circumstances alleged.
- Domestic Violence – 93-day maximum
- Domestic Violence 2nd Offense – 1-year maximum
- Aggravated Domestic Violence (Domestic Violence in addition to an injury) – 1-year maximum
- Aggravated Domestic Violence 2nd Offense - 2-year maximum
- Domestic Violence 3rd or subsequent – 5-year maximum
Domestic Violence cases are unique in how Judges treat them while the case is pending. Bond conditions for someone facing a domestic violence charge can include no contact with the alleged victim, no going to the residence of the alleged victim (yes, this can be your own home), and a GPS tether on your ankle among other requirements. A violation of any of these bond conditions can result in your bond being revoked and you remanded to jail pending the outcome of your case or can result in additional charges! Every step in a domestic violence case is extremely important, and your first step should be a call to Grabel & Associates so you can fully understand what you are facing. Our defense attorneys are ready to help devise how to take the most appropriate next steps towards defending yourself and putting this situation behind you.
Once you know specifically what you are charged with, the next important thing to know is what court(s) you are required to appear in.
Know Your Courts In Grand Rapids
The great city of Grand Rapids and surrounding cities are all within Kent County. All misdemeanor cases in Kent County are handled at the District Court level according to their location. Felony cases start at the district court level and end up in the Circuit Court if there is enough probable cause shown that a crime was committed and that the accused committed it. The first stop (after arraignment) for any criminal case in the Grand Rapids area whether it is a misdemeanor or felony is in District Court.
There are five District Courts and one Circuit Court in Kent County:
- 59th District Court: Services the cities of Grandville. This court has one Judge and a part-time magistrate.
- 61st District Court: Services the city of Grand Rapids. This court has six Judges and one full-time magistrate.
- 62-A District Court: Services the city of Wyoming. This court has two Judges and one part-time magistrate.
- 62-B District Court: Services the city of Kentwood. This court has one Judge and one part-time magistrate.
- 63rd District Court: Services all other cities in Kent County. This court has two Judges.
- 17th Circuit Court: Kent County. All felony cases in Kent County end up here if there is probable cause shown that a crime has been committed and that the accused is the perpetrator. This court has fourteen Judges.
It is infinitely important to stand in front of the Judges in these various courts next to a domestic violence Attorney who has earned an excellent reputation and has achieved results for their clients. At Grabel & Associates we put our experience and knowledge to work for you immediately. We have successfully represented many clients in Grand Rapids and the surrounding areas. If you need an attorney for an assault crime, we offer a free case evaluation
Know Your Domestic Violence Case In Grand Rapids
Every Domestic Violence case has five basic elements:
- Actual or threatened physical contact,
- Unjustified contact, and
- a Domestic relationship
Your presence in a domestic violence crime is essential. Were you even there? A prosecutor has to prove that you were there when the crime occurred. Do you have an alibi? A defendant doesn’t have to prove his alibi, it is up to the Prosecutor to prove your presence at the scene of the crime in order for a jury to appropriately find you guilty of a domestic violence.
An alleged victim must reasonably fear some sort of physical imminent harm. A prosecutor has to prove that you made an attempt to make physical contact with the alleged victim. Words here are not enough. A Prosecutor here must prove that you made physical contact or attempted to make physical contact (i.e. a missed punch) with the alleged victim.
You aren’t guilty of a domestic violence if you make accidental contact with an alleged victim. What was your intention? A Prosecutor has to prove that you intended to make this physical contact with the alleged victim or elsewhere. Did you know that if you attempt to hit someone, miss, and hit someone else, then you are guilty of assault on that new person? Your intent in this case “transferred” since you had a criminal intent to commit an assault from the beginning. A variety of factors are used on both prosecution and defense to try to determine your intent. A strong defense will seek to paint the picture of the scene so a jury can understand your version of events. A strong defense attorney will seek to answer many questions: What were the events that led up to this occurrence? Are there any eye-witnesses? How reliable are these witnesses? Is there a video tape? The answer to one of these questions could be the difference in your verdict.
Was this intentional contact justified? You are legally allowed to defend yourself in the face of imminent danger. A common defense in domestic violence cases is self-defense or defense of others. This is also legally one of the strongest defenses you can put forward. Once testimony is put forward that raises self-defense, then a Prosecutor now ALSO has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it was NOT self-defense in order for a jury to appropriately find you guilty. Now remember, the self-defense must be to the level of the threat. For example, if someone punches you in the arm you aren’t justified in pulling out a gun and shooting them. You cannot use lethal force if the imminent danger is clearly not lethal. A defendant does not have to prove their self-defense claim, but they have to properly raise it at trial. Our attorneys are trial tested, and they stand ready to put forward your best defense.
Does the required relationship exist? A fundamental element of any domestic violence charge is the requirement of some sort of a close relationship with the alleged victim. A prosecutor has to prove that you are either a current spouse, maintain an intimate relationship, are a family member, have a child in common or live in the same house as the alleged victim in a domestic violence case.
Domestic violence cases can be very tricky to navigate, and it is of extreme importance to have an attorney that knows what to expect, how to predict the more unexpected, and ultimately how to navigate through the unique charge that is a domestic violence. Our attorneys at Grabel & Associates understand how to successfully defend domestic violence cases and are ready help put their knowledge and experience to work for you immediately.
Our Defense Attorneys Are Here For You
At Grabel & Associates we are here for you in Grand Rapids and all over the State of Michigan. We stand ready to help successfully defend you in a domestic violence. Come see us at our office at 2922 Fuller Ave NE, in between Plainfield Ave NE and 3 Mile Rd NE., give us a call at 616-213-4133 or contact us online for a FREE case evaluation.