For most people, the term domestic violence will make them think of spousal battery. There is little question that spouses can commit acts of domestic violence against each other. However, domestic violence laws in Michigan don’t just apply to spouses.
The same laws also apply to unmarried romantic partners and other people living in the same household or family as the alleged perpetrator. Lashing out at a parent or at one of your children could lead to domestic violence charges. In fact, someone who isn’t even in your family, like a roommate, could be the source of a domestic violence charge.
Cohabitation, not a legal relationship, leads to domestic violence charges
Michigan law is quite clear about domestic violence. Anyone in the same family or household can be the victim of domestic violence. You don’t necessarily have to put your hands on someone in your home or family or even threaten them verbally to face domestic violence charges either.
Michigan recognizes emotional abuse as a form of domestic violence as well. Any other crime committed to punish or terrorize someone in your household or family could be domestic violence. Arson, extortion and kidnapping are all examples of non-assault offenses that the state could treat as domestic violence.
Domestic assault cases can have farther-reaching consequences than standard allegations of assault. Unlike many other misdemeanor offenses, a misdemeanor conviction related to domestic violence could affect your gun ownership rights. A conviction or even charges could lead to a restraining order that forces you to leave your home and avoid contact with your family.
Understanding when your actions might constitute domestic violence could help you avoid a mistake that leads to criminal charges. If you do end up in trouble, however, make sure that you take immediate steps to protect your interests and your defense.