Michigan Criminal Law: Assaultive Crimes; Assault or Assault and Battery (Misdemeanor)

Allegations involving acts of violence of varying degrees are prevalent in the criminal justice system. A vast majority of these statutes, however, have certain common elements which can be traced back a relatively straightforward misdemeanor charge, Assault or Assault and Battery, MCL 750.81.

 

Assault or Assault and Battery, MCL 750.81 is one of the more common misdemeanor charges on many court dockets, and it’s elements are found through many different variations. Under this law:

“a person who assaults or assaults and batters an individual, if no other punishment is prescribed by law, is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 93 days or a fine of not more than $500.00, or both.MCL 750.81 (1). 

 

While the terms “assault” and “battery” are often intertwined and both terms are used in the same statute; legally, they are two different things. In order to prove “assault,” alone, a prosecutor would need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt…:

(2) First, that the defendant either attempted to commit a battery on [name complainant] or did an act that would cause a reasonable person to fear or apprehend an immediate battery. A battery is a forceful, violent, or offensive touching of the person or something closely connected with the person of another.*

(3) Second, that the defendant intended either to commit a battery upon [name complainant] or to make [name complainant] reasonably fear an immediate battery. [An assault cannot happen by accident.]

(4) Third, that at the time, the defendant had the ability to commit a battery, appeared to have the ability, or thought [he / she] had the ability.

M. Crim. JI. 17.1.

In order to prove an assault and battery, a prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt…:

(2) First, that the defendant committed a battery on [name complainant] . A battery is a forceful, violent, or offensive touching of the person or something closely connected with the person of another.1 The touching must have been intended by the defendant, that is, not accidental, and it must have been against [name complainant] ’s will. It does not matter whether the touching caused an injury.

(3) Second, that the defendant intended either to commit a battery upon [name complainant] or to make [name complainant] reasonably fear an immediate battery.2

M. Crim. JI. 17.2.

These core definitions of assault and battery are essential when examining other charges that incorporate those definitions into their elements, such as the Domestic Violence series of charges, MCL 750.81 (2) et. seq., Felonious Assault, MCL 750.82., et. al.

Our experienced trial attorneys fight hard for our Michigan clients. We represent clients statewide. For a free initial consultation, feel free to contact us at (517) 507-5077.

For information on Assault Causing Great Bodily Harm, click here.
For information on Assault With Intent to Commit Murder, click here.
For information on Felonious Assault, click here.
For information on Domestic Assault & Battery, click here.
For information on Interference with an Electronic Communications Device, click here.
For information on Assault by Strangulation, click here.

Anyone charged, of course, is presumed innocent. The prosecutor would need to prove the elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt if the matter proceeded to trial. Simply because a person is charged does not mean that ultimately, they will be convicted.
If you need specific legal advice for your particular circumstances, I encourage you to privately consult with a lawyer. Circumstances may vary significantly. If you need specific legal advice, please privately consult with a lawyer.

If you are charged with an offense and cannot afford to pay for your own defense, the court may appoint you an attorney payable at the public’s expense. You have a right to counsel.