Felonious Assault – Assault with a Weapon – Assault Lawyer
There are several levels to assault charges. The severity of an assault charge is based on what happened during the offense, attorneys refer to this as “the facts of the case”. Felonious assault, or also referred to as assault with a weapon is a felony, which means that it is publishable by more than a year in prison. There are defenses to felonious assault.
Felonious Assault Penalties
Felonious Assault is punishable by up to four years in prison and a fine of up to $2,000.
If the offense is alleged to occur in a school zone the potential prison time stays the same at four years, but it adds up to 150 hours of community service, and triples the maximum fine to $6,000.
Other potential consequences include the loss of the ability to own or possess a firearm and the loss of the right to vote.
If the person is here on immigration status, a conviction for felonious assault is considered a crime of moral turpitude and can result in deportation.
Assault with a Weapon
Felonious assault is often referred to as assault with a weapon, because that is exactly what it is. In order for the prosecuting attorney to prove your guilt they would have to convince a jury of the following elements:
- You either attempted to commit a battery on the complainant (person who is your accuser) or did an act that would cause a reasonable person to fear an immediate battery.
- You intended either to injure your accuser or to make the accuser reasonably fear an immediate battery.
- At the time of the offense, you had the ability to commit a battery, appeared to have the ability, or thought you had the ability.
- You committed the assault with an alleged dangerous weapon.
A dangerous weapon can include common things like guns, bombs, brass knuckles, but can also include things that are used as weapons like an automobile, a machete, a shoe, a bottle, a flashlight, or even a can of aerosol spray.
I did not make up this list above; those are all items that have been ruled to constitute a dangerous weapon by the courts.
Bare hands are not considered dangerous weapons in Michigan under the felonious assault law.
Even if you believe you are guilty of assault an experienced lawyer can make all the difference. In any criminal case the charges against you may have to be dismissed if the police obtained evidence against you illegally, even if that evidence proves your guilt.
Even if you are guilty and the police did everything properly in building a case against you it still might be possible to get a dismissal of the charge against you. If a dismissal isn’t possible a good defense lawyer may be able to broker a deal on your behalf to keep the conviction of your record, or keep you out of jail.
If you believe you are innocent there are many defenses to assault charges.
Often times police will make arrests without talking to all the witnesses, or without talking to any more people that the accuser for that matter. For these reasons many defenses are available.
The most common defense is probably self-defense. You are legally allowed to defend yourself if you are attacked. Self-defense allows you to protect yourself with your fists or even a weapon without being guilty of an assault. In most of these cases a fight breaks out, police show up, and either both people are charged with a crime or the wrong person (the person who was defending themselves) is charged with a crime. This usually results because of sloppy police work, or because the police take the side of someone with more witnesses in their favor, or one witness that appears to be more credible but is not.
The next most common defense that we see is the defense of others. Defense of others is just like self-defense but it allows you to step into the shoes of another person and defend them. Even if it turns out later that the person you stepped into defend was the initial aggressor you can still assert the defense of others as long as it appeared to you at the time that the person needed defending.
Defense of property is another defense that allows you to use reasonable force to protect your things. As long as the force is not unreasonable, and as long as a reasonable person would believe force was necessary in order to regain possession of your property then you are not guilty of an assault.
An accident is also a common defense to assault. Assaults cannot happen by accident, so if you accidently hit someone then you are not guilty. For example, we had a case where a person was charged with felonious assault when he ran his girlfriend over with his car. It was an accident, and it came out at trial that she was hanging onto the car and he didn’t even know when he started driving. The jury found that client not guilty.
Mistake is a defense that is used in a situation where you were accused of an assault you did not commit. Could be a mistake in identity, or the person simply did not see what they thought they saw.
Another obvious defense is a lie. People accuse others of assault for all kinds of different reasons. We have seen people accuse others of assault to get them kicked out of a house, to gain ground in a divorce, or get custody of children.