Assault charges are rarely a good thing, but, in Michigan, it is far preferable to face misdemeanor assault charges than see those same charges raised to a felony. Felony charges can change the entire course of your life if you suffer a conviction.
Felons do not enjoy the same freedoms that many of us take for granted, even once they serve their debt to society in prison. Felony convictions deprive an individual of the right to vote, the right own firearms, and often make finding employment or housing very difficult.
If you face felony assault charges, it is wise to do everything in your power to fight these charges. You may have stronger defense options than you realize, or may be able to decrease the charges to misdemeanor status. An experienced attorney can assess your circumstances and guide you as you fight for your freedom and future.
Elements that increase severity of assault charges
Assault charges may rise from misdemeanor status to felony charges based on four basic elements
- the intent of the alleged perpetrator
- the presence of a deadly weapon, such as a gun or knife
- the identity of the victim
- the severity of the harm to the victim
If an injury occurs as a byproduct of some other accident, there is probably no real intent to harm another human. However, if the actions of the alleged perpetrator were intentional, even if the victim was not, this may be enough to constitute aggravated assault and raise the charges to felonies
Similarly, if one of the perpetrator of the violence used or brandished a deadly weapon as a part of the assault, this may raise the charges to felony status. This could include anything from a baseball bat to a handgun.
If the victim of the alleged assault is an employee or member of a service organization agency, such as police or firefighters, or a member of a protected class of people, such as people of color or those living with disabilities, charges may also increase. An assault of any kind on a pregnant woman may likewise count as a felony.
Even if there was no other element involved, if a victim suffers very serious harm, this may prove enough to raise the charges to felony status.
How do you begin building your defense?
Often, the most effective defense against felony assault charges is to enlist the guidance of an experienced defense attorney who understands defending felony charges in your area. Professional legal counsel knows how to assess the details of your case and use the law to build a strong, personalized defense to protect your rights and future.