Practice Areas

Domestic Violence

What you think is just an argument can quickly escalate into something much more. Who knows what happened? A neighbor may hear raised voices and call the police. The police arrive and decide an argument ensued and so someone must be arrested for domestic violence. Domestic violence incidents in Michigan carry serious consequences when not addressed immediately. These consequences can be both civil and criminal. If you have been charged in Oakland County, Wayne County or Macomb County with a domestic violence or related offense, it’s imperative to contact a serious domestic violence attorney immediately.

Consequences of Domestic Violence in Michigan

When a defendant is charged with a domestic violence offense, the court has the power to institute a protective order, also referred to as a restraining or no-contact order, barring you from contact with your loved ones. Protective orders can be made even when the defendant isn’t present in court and before the criminal process has really even begun. In essence, when it comes to domestic violence, you can suffer certain consequences before a judge or jury has found you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

When a protective order is issued, it can result in two significant consequences, though there may be other penalties or restrictions imposed:

  • It can restrict a defendant’s contact with the victim and their children; and 
  • It can require the defendant to leave the family home.

A person subject to a protective order or convicted of a domestic violence offense is also prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm under federal law. 

Criminal convictions of any nature, but especially domestic violence offenses, can also impact a defendant’s ability to find work or housing. Potential employers or landlords who run a background check may refuse an applicant with a domestic violence conviction. 

Penalties of Domestic Violence in Michigan


When sentencing an offender for a domestic violence offense, the court will take into account aggravating circumstances, like:

  • The level of injury sustained by the victim, if any;
  • Whether a weapon was used;
  • If a child witnessed the crime;
  • Whether the crime violated an already existing Protective Order;
  • The personal characteristics of the victim, such as being elderly or pregnant

Can Domestic Violence Charges Be Dropped?

Domestic violence charges can be dropped, but it is critical to know that they will rarely ever be dropped merely because the alleged victim of the violence no longer wishes to Prosecute.  Formal charges are brought by the state, and once the case has begun, convincing the prosecution to drop the charges requires a knowledgeable attorney with years of experience.

Defenses to Domestic Violence Allegations

A person can defend against a domestic violence charge, however, the specific defenses available to a defendant will depend on the circumstances of his/her case. 

Some common defenses include:

  • Self-defense or defense of others, where reasonable force was used to prevent an attack
  • Lack of evidence, if the prosecution fails to present enough evidence to prove each element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt
  • False allegations, where the victim has lied about what happened
  • Accident, where the defendant unintentionally caused the injury

A conviction for a domestic violence offense can have a long-lasting impact on many aspects of a defendant’s personal life, including their personal relationships, parenting, and employment. It is always in your best interests to consult with a domestic violence defense lawyer about any allegations.

Contact a Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer Today

If you’ve been charged with a domestic violence offense, you should speak to an experienced domestic violence defense attorney at Shannon Smith Law, P.C. immediately. We will listen to your version of events, assess the strength of the evidence against you, and advise you of any defenses that may be available to you.  Fill out an online submission form or call us at 248-636-2595 to schedule a free consultation today.

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