Domestic violence is an umbrella term used to describe physical, emotional, sexual, or economic abuse or threatening behavior that occurs between two people who are in a domestic relationship. That could mean they are simply living together, married, family members, or people currently or formally involved in a romantic relationship. Stalking an individual is also listed under domestic violence. It is also a crime to keep someone from obtaining medical attention, calling law enforcement for help, or reporting the abuse.
While both men and women can be victims of domestic violence, women are more affected by violence within a domestic relationship, with nearly 85% of victims being women. However, the crime of domestic violence can be difficult to successfully.
Problems with Prosecuting Domestic Violence Cases
Often times, cases of domestic violence can be exaggerated or used by alleged victims to gain some type of advantage on the accused, whether it be revenge or rights in a custody battle. Other times, alleged victim may have initiated aggressive actions that forced the other individual to respond in a forceful and defensive way. Regardless, proving domestic violence or abuse, despite a cases emotional pull, is still very difficult for prosecutors.
They must be able to prove that:
- There was a domestic relationship
- An act of verbal, physical, or even emotional violence occurred
- You were not acting in self-defense or in order to protect another individual
- If verbal abuse is involved, they must prove the victim truly felt threatened
Also, many times victims of domestic violence will refuse to testify against their abuser in court, whether due to guilt, shame, or fear.
The Penalties Against Domestic Violence
In Michigan, the penalties for domestic assault could result in up to 93 days in jail and/or up to $500 in fines. If the abuser caused serious injury to victim, they could receive up to a year in jail and be fined up to $1,000. Penalties increase depending on the circumstances and past convictions of the accused. If the abuser has prior convictions or there was a weapon involved, the sentencing and fines increase.
If you have been accused of domestic violence, contact Attorney Daniel D. Hajji to speak with a criminal defense attorney today.