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Lansing Domestic Violence Lawyer

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Lansing Domestic Violence Lawyer
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If you are facing domestic violence (DV) charges in Michigan, it is essential to hire a Lansing domestic violence lawyer to help you fight the charges. Whether you’re facing misdemeanor or felony charges, a possible conviction can result in long-term repercussions such as the inability to get some jobs, rent a home, and so forth. For this reason, you need to prioritize hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you build a strong defense.

At our law firm, we have experience representing people facing domestic violence allegations. Among other things, we help strengthen their case and use applicable legal defenses to counter the charges.

Consequences of a domestic violence conviction

Domestic violence is a criminal offense. If you are convicted of the charges, you may face penalties in the form of fines, imprisonment, probation, and additional collateral consequences, which can be equally severe.

The penalties may vary based on the type of charge (felony or misdemeanor), the degree of the violence, and your criminal history of domestic violence. Again, the consequences may increase significantly if there are aggravating factors such as using a weapon.

Additional collateral consequences may include:

  • Firearm license disqualification
  • Loss of all your gun rights, for that matter
  • An inability to secure some jobs, such as teaching, social services, etc.
  • Being fired by your employer
  • Possible suspension or revocation of professional licenses
  • An inability to rent a house
  • Eviction
  • Denial of child custody

Possible penalties in domestic violence charges

As mentioned, the penalties you potentially face upon conviction may vary widely depending on the various factors highlighted. Essentially, Michigan domestic violence law imposes penalties as follows;

  • First offense (misdemeanor): Maximum jail term of 93 days and a fine of $500
  • Second offense (misdemeanor): Maximum jail term of one year and a fine of up to $1,000
  • Third offense (felony): Maximum jail term of two years and a fine of up to $2,500

On top of these “traditional” domestic assault charges, causing serious injury can lead to an allegation of aggravated domestic assault. This is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year if it’s a first offense and a felony if it’s a second or subsequent offense.

Even more serious is if the prosecutor tries to charge you with assault with intent to do great bodily harm (a 10-year felony), assault by strangulation (also a 10-year felony), or assault with intent to murder (a life offense). In our experience, prosecutors frequently tend to overcharge these cases as a means to bully defendants into taking “favorable” plea deals. We’re always on the lookout for overzealous prosecution and willing to call them on it whenever we see it.


If you are facing misdemeanor charges, the court may put you on probation. The maximum duration of probation for a misdemeanor is two years. For felonies, you can get up to five years’ probation. During probation, you may be required to:

  • Attend a domestic violence class
  • Perform community service
  • Undergo frequent alcohol/drug testing


A Lansing domestic violence lawyer can explain relevant statutes

Michigan domestic violence laws apply to the following relationships:

  • A spouse or former spouse
  • Someone you are dating or that you have dated in the past
  • Someone you are living with now or have lived with in the past
  • A biological co-parent

The law defines domestic violence as behaviors involving the use of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse to control the above-mentioned relations.

Below is a list of what can be considered domestic violence:

  • Arson
  • Extortion
  • Assault (physical and sexual)
  • Battery
  • Kidnapping
  • Attempted murder

In addition to filing a lawsuit, the victim might also take additional legal actions against you, such as:

  • Applying for personal protective orders (PPO)
  • Issuance of child custody/support orders
  • Filing a civil lawsuit to recover damages (for medical expenses, pain and suffering, etc.)

The statute of limitations for domestic violence in Michigan is pretty lengthy. The government has up to six years to bring charges against you. However, the deadline can be longer if you leave the state before they file a complaint, in which case, the time starts counting upon your return.

Is there a mandatory arrest policy?

The police often seem to think so, but no. The notion that the police have to arrest someone just for being called to the scene of a crime ought to be unthinkable in a free society. But the law does require every police agency to have a policy when responding to domestic violence calls. The law says that in most cases, an arrest should be made, but only if the police have probable cause to believe a person committed a crime of domestic violence. But they cannot arrest you if they don’t have facts to support an arrest. That said, they may arrest you even if the alleged victim doesn’t want to press charges. The cops do not need a warrant to make an arrest in these situations.

Aggravating factors

The circumstances and the severity of the violence may aggravate domestic violence assault charges from misdemeanor to felony, or lead to new charges entirely. Some of these factors include:

  • Use of a weapon during the violence; for example, you may be charged with a felony for firing at the person even if you did not shoot them
  • If the person suffered severe physical injuries from the attack
  • And as we discussed above, prior offenses or an intent to do great bodily harm or commit murder


An experienced Lansing domestic violence lawyer can help strengthen your case

The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the alleged crime. You can strengthen your case and effectively weaken the prosecution’s charges if you cast doubt on the credibility of the victim’s allegations.

The importance of hiring an experienced Lansing domestic violence lawyer for your case is that they can help explore available legal defenses to fight the charges.

Do not face this alone. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Possible defenses

Below are four legal defenses you can ride on:

  • Arguing that this is BS (though you shouldn’t say it that way in court). You may argue the offense did not happen if the prosecutor does not have evidence to prove its occurrence.
  • Maintaining you did not do it. If the prosecution provides evidence of the crime, such as photos of injuries and hospital records, you may claim you did not do it. This is an especially compelling argument if you have a good alibi witness.
  • Insisting you were justified. If witnesses come forward to testify against you or the prosecution happens to have incriminating evidence of you committing the crime, you may insist that what you did was justified, for instance, if you acted in self-defense.
  • Pointing at investigation issues. If the police violated the law while conducting the investigation, you could request a case dismissal. For instance, maybe they got a damning statement out of you after your arrest, but before they gave you your Miranda warnings. And maybe the likelihood of conviction goes way down without the statement. That is why engaging the services of an experienced domestic violence attorney is essential, as they are knowledgeable in the laws applicable to your case.

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Yes, we’re big fans of defending people’s rights. But check out what our clients are saying...

(That's what really matters!)

"Dustyn Coontz was friendly and professional from the first meeting with him until the conclusion of my case"

I was informed and up to date through the entire process. Anytime I had questions or concerns I just contacted his office and was always answered or soon returned a call.

“Incredibly thorough and professional!”

Services rendered were above and beyond the call of duty. I can't imagine my experience with the legal system without the assistance of Coontz Law and the attorney provided to me.

“Hands down been an Excellent Lawyer!”

Never judged never looked down on my story instead gave me hope that the outcome would be better by fighting and not giving in. A lawyer thats Willing to fight for you to the end is ONE you WANT and NEED on your Team!!! I would recommend and also rate 5 Stars! I appreciate all you've done so far in my case.

“He is kind, compassionate, and cares about people.”

He even called me and texted me back a few extra times when he didn't have to. For me he went beyond. Thanks so much, Dustyn.

“If you need legal representation, I would highly recommend Coontz Law”

From my first conversation with Dustyn, he was a calm presence since this was the first time I needed any legal assistance. He truly wants the best for his clients and is truly a wonderful lawyer to have on your side. I never felt judged and he was willing to fight for the best outcome for myself & my future.
A great criminal defense starts with a simple free consultation

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You schedule a call
Meet briefly to learn more ∙ Understand your specific situation ∙ Determine if we can help
We suggest a solution
Know what it will cost ∙ Understand how long it’ll take ∙ Know what next steps look like.
We work together
Gather & review evidence ∙ Create defense strategy ∙ Provide updates without you even asking
Enjoy peace of mind
We’ll work tirelessly on your behalf to get you the best possible outcome on your case.


Can Charges Be Dropped Before the Court Date?

Yes. It is possible to have the charges dropped before the court date. This can happen under the following scenarios:

  • The prosecution can dismiss the charges. For example, they do not have sufficient evidence to present in court or if you negotiate with them for case suspension.
  • Your attorney can file a motion for dismissal. For example, the police violated your constitutional rights during the investigation and there’s no case without the illegally gotten evidence.
What Should I Do After My Arrest?

Following your arrest, your conduct can significantly impact the case. For instance, you should not talk to the police until after consulting a defense lawyer. This is because you might say things to the police (albeit innocently) and end up incriminating yourself. The police are shockingly good at twisting around your words. Generally, hiring a skilled lawyer immediately after the arrest is essential as they can defend your rights while helping you to avoid potential legal pitfalls. After consulting the attorney, they will advise you on the next steps.


Do I Have a Right to Confront My Accuser During Trial?

Yes. The Sixth Amendment establishes your right to confront the victim and their witnesses during the trial. It’s a lot easier for someone to make stories up about you in the heat of the moment, and a lot more difficult when having to go to court, be put under oath, and answer to a skilled cross-examiner.