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Felonious assault charge is result of family dispute in Bath Township

On the morning of November 3, 2011, a 23-year old Bath Township man was arrested on a felonious assault charge against his 44-year old father.  The father and son were arguing when the dispute turned physical.  According to witnesses, the younger man grabbed a pair of scissors, leaned over his sitting father and made a stabbing motion.  At that point, the father punched his son in the face, and the men fell to the floor fighting.  The police department plans to seek a domestic assault charge against the father.

Domestic assault, also known as domestic violence, is a felony carrying a maximum punishment of four years in prison.  Typically, people convicted of this offense, if they have no prior record, may spend some time in the county jail (no more than one year), they could be placed on probation for up to five years, or they may receive both county jail time and probation.  If the son was waving the scissors in a threatening manner, or making stabbing motions towards his father with the scissors in his hand, this would likely be sufficient to support the charge of felonious assault against the son. 

The father, when confronted with this type of behavior, has a right to utilize the appropriate level of force necessary to defend himself, if he has a honest and reasonable belief that he is about to be harmed.  A domestic assault charge against the father, to be sustained, would likely require a finding that when the father continued his assault against his son, the scissors were no longer in play and that he no longer had a reasonable and honest belief that his son was going to harm him and that instead, he moved beyond self-defense to wanting to punish his son.  It would appear from the above article, the father may have a valid self-defense claim.  If the father is indeed culpable of domestic violence and is not in a position to use a self-defense claim, he may also seek treatment under MCLA 769.4(a), a statute that allows a person who either pleads guilty or is found guilty of domestic violence, to be placed on a period of probation, which if successfully completed, results in a dismissal of the charge without a conviction entering on that person's record.  This is only available if the Defendant has not previously utilized this section of the law to avoid criminal conviction in the past.

Meeting with a defense lawyer immediately after arrest, or if not arrested, during the investigation phase of a possible assault charge, is critical to the long-term outcome of your case.  A criminal lawyer can assist someone involved in violent activity, with seeking the appropriate treatment and being in a position to assure the court that their violent days are behind them, which often results in either lesser charges, lesser penalties or perhaps, dismissal of the charge without conviction. 

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