Michigan Criminal Law: Assaultive Crimes; Assault Great Bodily Harm

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Allegations involving acts of violence of varying degrees are prevalent in the criminal justice system. Assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder shares the same elements of an Assault or Assault and Battery charge and the prosecutor must also prove that the party “assaults another person with intent to do great bodily harm, less than the crime of murder.” MCL 750.84 1 (a). “Great bodily harm” is defined as “any physical injury that could seriously harm the health or function of the body.”M. Crim. JI. 17.7.

The maximum penalties for Assault by Strangulation charges depend on whether a person has priors, the alleged facts, and other factors; however the maximum possible penalty starts at ” imprisonment for not more than 10 years or a fine of not more than $5,000.00, or both” and goes up from there. MCL 750.84 (1).

As the Model Jury Instruction explains, in order to prove this charge beyond a reasonable doubt, the prosecutor must show the following:

(1)  [The defendant is charged with the crime of / You may also consider the lesser charge of] 1 assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder. To prove this charge, the prosecutor must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

(2) First, that the defendant tried to physically injure another person.

(3) Second, that at the time of the assault, the defendant had the ability to cause an injury, or at least believed that [he / she] had the ability.

(4) Third, that the defendant intended to cause great bodily harm. Actual injury is not necessary, but if there was an injury, you may consider it as evidence in deciding whether the defendant intended to cause great bodily harm. Great bodily harm means any physical injury that could seriously harm the health or function of the body.

M. Crim. JI. 17.7.

As the jury instruction notes, this charge may be considered as a “lesser offense” and added as an alternative to a variety of more serious assaultive crimes. M. Crim. JI. 17.7. Further, this charge may also have “lesser offenses” as well, such as felonious assault.

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 by Strangulation, 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 and Battery (Misdemeanor), 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.