The stakes are high if you've been charged with assault.
A question our criminal defense attorneys get a lot is, "Do I need a lawyer?"
Every case is unique, but for the most part, if you have been arrested or charged with a crime in Michigan, then it's in your interests to review your legal rights and options with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. This is true even for so-called commonplace charges like assault and battery.
Facing assault and battery charges is a serious matter, and the decision of whether to hire a lawyer should not be taken lightly. People charged with assault and battery in Michigan face jail time and fines. The stakes and penalties are more severe if the individual has a criminal record.
Ask yourself these 8 questions
- What charges and penalties are you facing? After an assault and battery arrest, assess the specific charges against you and determine the consequences of not having an attorney on your side. In Michigan, there are various categories of assault, including assault and battery; aggravated assault; domestic violence assault; and assaulting, resisting, or obstructing an officer, among others. At the very least, the penalty for an assault and battery conviction is up to 93 days in jail and up to a $500 fine for a simple assault if the accused does not have a criminal record.
- Do you have a criminal record? Michigan has enhanced penalties for specific assault situations. For example, the penalty for a second domestic violence offense is up to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. A third DV assault can result in up to 5 years imprisonment and up to a $5,000 fine.
- Do you need pretrial motions filed? A strong defense is built on a thorough investigation of the alleged charges and a process review to ensure rights were not violated. An experienced criminal defense attorney knows how to find, collect, and present evidence. They also know how to challenge the prosecution's evidence and witnesses in pretrial motions.
- Are prosecutors open to negotiating the charges? It is possible to arrange for plea bargains or reduced charges, potentially leading to a more favorable outcome. However, it takes a skilled attorney with significant experience and a commitment to their client's best interests to effectively negotiate with the prosecution.
- What are your defense options? Determine whether you have valid defenses to the charges, such as self-defense, lack of intent, or mistaken identity. An attorney can find the facts that matter to your case and help you build a strong defense.
- How many times will you go to court? An assault and battery case may require multiple court appearances, filings, and meeting deadlines. Missing crucial deadlines or failing to follow proper procedures can harm your case. It is important to choose a lawyer with the resources and focus to fight for you at every turn.
- What are the social consequences? Consider the collateral consequences of a criminal conviction, such as employment, housing, and personal relationships. A lawyer can help you explore options to mitigate these consequences.
- How's your stress? Finally, think about the peace of mind that comes with having an attorney handle your case. Having a criminal defense lawyer by your side can help alleviate stress and uncertainty during the legal process.
Contact a criminal defense attorney today
Remember that each case is unique, and making an informed decision based on your specific circumstances is essential. If you've been charged with assault and battery in Michigan, the stakes are high. At Manley & Manley in Flint, our experienced criminal defense attorneys are ready to help you find your way forward. Learn more about how we can help. Don't delay – contact us to schedule a free case evaluation today.