Felonious Assault in Michigan, which is also known as Assault with a Dangerous Weapon (or Assault with a Deadly Weapon), is a 4 year maximum penalty felony offense. To prove Felonious Assault, the prosecution must prove all of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
1) The Defendant either attempted to commit a battery upon the complaining witness or did an act that would cause a reasonable person to fear or apprehend an immediate battery. A battery is a forceful or violent touching of the person or something closely connected with the person.
2) The Defendant intended either to injure the complaining witness or make the complaining witness reasonably fear an immediate battery.
3) At the time, the Defendant had the ability to commit a battery, appeared to have the ability, or thought that he or she had the ability.
4) The Defendant committed the assault with a dangerous weapon.
A Dangerous weapon is any object that is used in a way that is likely to cause serious physical injury or death. Some objects, such as guns or bombs, are dangerous because they are specifically designed to be dangerous. Other objects are designed for peaceful purposes but may be used as dangerous weapons (for example, steak knives, baseball bats, automobiles). The way an object is used or intended to be used in an assault determines whether or not it is a dangerous weapon. If an object is used in a way that is likely to cause serious physical injury or death, it is a dangerous weapon.
When a Felonious Assault involves a firearm, often the prosecution will charge the offense of Felony Firearm, which is also known as Use of a Firearm in the Commission of a Felony. A first offense Felony Firearm conviction carries a mandatory penalty upon conviction of 2 years in prison consecutive to any other charge, unless the Defendant is 20 years of age or less and receives Holmes Youthful Trainee Act status (read my blog concerning HYTA – Holmes Youthful Trainee Act, for more information concerning HYTA).
At trial there are many defenses to Felonious Assault that can be contemplated, such as (but not limited to) the following: reasonable doubt, identity of the perpetrator, the complaining witness is untruthful, lack of intent, consent or mutual affray, self defense, and/or the object in question was not a dangerous weapon. It is important to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer, such as the lawyers at Hilf & Hilf, PLC, if you can afford to do so. An experienced lawyer in many cases will demand a preliminary examination at the District Court to challenge the evidence of the crime of Felonious Assault submitted by the Prosecution. If the case is bound over to the Circuit Court, the Criminal Defense Lawyer can use the transcript from the preliminary examination to pursue an acquittal or a just resolution short of trial. At trial, an experienced lawyer will fight for the client to receive a not guilty verdict or a lesser charge depending upon the circumstances.
A conviction for Felonious Assault can have many life changing consequences: it can affect an individual’s freedom, his or her relationship with their family, career, education, and/or ability to lawfully maintain firearms and a concealed weapons permit. The penalty is too harsh to rely upon the services of a legal novice, or a lawyer that does not regularly practice criminal defense.
Sometimes in life you only have 1 opportunity to get the right result.