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The most misunderstood criminal allegations often involve assault. This is typically because assault is one of the most expansive of the state’s criminal violations and can apply even if a person does not make violent contact with another. Depending on the circumstances behind the incident, assault can result in a relatively minor charge or rise to the level of a felony.

With so much at stake, if you are facing assault charges, it is essential to seek the guidance of an experienced criminal defense attorney rather than trying to tackle things on your own. A Manistique assault lawyer is dedicated to helping people understand why they are being accused of a crime and developing defenses that meet their needs in court.

The Definition of Assault Under Manistique Law

The basic foundation for the crime of assault is found in Michigan Penal Code § 750.81. This statute states that a common assault, which may include assault and battery, involves causing bodily harm to another or threatening to do so. The case of Smith v. Stolberg, 231 Mich. App. 256 (1998) further describes an assault as acting in a way that causes a well-founded fear in another that bodily harm is about to occur. This means an individual can face allegations of assault even if they did not physically make contact with another person.

The prosecutor in an assault case carries the burden to prove these paths beyond a reasonable doubt at trial. For example, they may attempt to show that a defendant caused actual harm to an alleged victim or try to prove that a reasonable person would have been afraid for their well-being based on the defendant’s actions. An adaptable Manistique assault attorney could provide more information about the basic concept of assault under state law and how to defend one’s rights against such allegations.

What Makes an Assault Charge a Felony?

The lowest level of assault cases can result in a misdemeanor charge that can bring a 93-day jail sentence, a fine of $500, or both. However, several aggravating factors can make an assault a felony-level crime. These include:

  • Assault that results in a severe or aggravated injury or involves using a weapon. MI Pen. Code § 750.81a says that while this offense is still a misdemeanor, the penalties can increase to a jail sentence of 365 days and a fine of up to $1,000.
  • Situations where a defendant allegedly uses a gun, knife, or another dangerous weapon to inflict bodily harm. Under MI Pen. Code § 750.82, the maximum penalty is four years in prison.

State law treats the attempted commission of a crime the same as if the crime actually took place. For example, a man who tries to punch another outside of a bar, and misses, is just as guilty as a man who takes that punch and connects. A proactive attorney in Manistique could examine the details of a particular incident to provide a potent defense against any assault charge.

Contact a Manistique Assault Attorney to Protect Your Rights

Assault allegations can be uniquely complex to navigate and the consequences of a conviction are often harsh. At Berger Law, we understand that every case is individual, and a knowledgeable Manistique assault lawyer is dedicated to identifying the best strategy to defend your rights.

If you are being accused of assault, reach out to our office for skilled legal counsel today.