Defining domestic violence for legal purposes can be very difficult because domestic violence can take so many forms. Years ago, most states only recognized severe physical abuse as domestic violence. Unless someone had bruises or broken bones, law enforcement and the courts were unlikely to get involved.

The definition of domestic violence has expanded in recent decades to include sexual violence between partners and extreme emotional or financial abuse. Michigan lawmakers took a relatively broad approach to defining domestic violence, which means that even those who don’t ever strike their romantic partner or spouse could face allegations of domestic violence.

The state views domestic violence as a pattern of controlling, unhealthy behavior

Domestic violence can impact individuals with any number of relationships. Domestic violence often occurs between two people in an intimate relationship, such as spouses, but the individuals don’t need to be married or to have had a sexual relationship for domestic violence to occur.

Children, roommates or anyone in the same household as someone else could be the victim or perpetrator of domestic violence. Michigan prosecutors can bring criminal charges against anyone who engages in violence or criminal acts as a means of controlling or intimidating family or household members.

Assaults, which includes physical violence is a crime that could constitute domestic violence, as is obstruction of justice, kidnapping, attempted murder, extortion and even arson. Given that the nature of the charges stems from the relationship you have with the alleged victim, there is a significant amount of nuance to domestic violence charges in Michigan. Planning early for an aggressive defense strategy is likely in your best interest if you face serious allegations of domestic violence.