Assault and battery can be anything from a barroom fight to a slight push.

Defenses to Assault Charges

1. Self-defense. A person has the right to self-defense where they honestly and reasonably believe self-defense was necessary. Read about the not guilty verdict we received in a case of self-defense. The prosecution must prove you did not act in self-defense.

2. Mutual combat. Similar to self-defense, though not technically a legal defense. However, many juries might sympathize where two people were equally at-fault for a fight. We received a not guilty verdict in a jury trial where two people basically got into a mutual fight.

3. The accuser lied. We won a jury trial where our client was wrongfully accused of assault where none had ever taken place. The accuser lied in order to gain leverage in a neighborhood dispute.

4. Accident. An assault must be intentional. For example, accidentally swinging your arms and hitting someone would not be an assault. We obtained a dismissal in a case where our client was pushed into a neighbor in the middle of a storm.

Contact ArborYpsi Law at 734.883.9584 or at

Legally Speaking

The words assault and battery are often used to mean the same thing but are actually two different concepts. A battery is where a person commits a harmful or offensive touching of another. An assault is an attempted battery or a threat to commit a battery.

For example, a battery is when I punch someone. An assault is where I threaten to punch someone and have the ability to carry out that threat, or where I punch someone and miss.

Different Levels of Assault Charges

Assault is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment of not more than 93 days in jail, a $500 fine, or both.

Aggravated assault is where a person suffers a serious injury, usually defined as an injury requiring medical attention. It is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year imprisonment, a $1,000, or both.

Felonious assault is assault with a weapon, and the definition of weapon is not limited to conventional weapons such as guns and knives but can include any number of objects that could potentially be dangerous. Felonious assault is a felony punishable by up to 4 years in prison, a $2,500 fine, or both.

There are many additional specific assault and intent to assault crimes, but the crimes listed above are the most common ones charged. Here is a list of all the assault crimes in the Michigan Penal Code.

Get in Touch at 734.883.9584

Call Sam Bernstein at 734.883.9584 or e-mail at

Sam Bernstein is a defense lawyer in Ann Arbor.

ArborYpsi Law is located at 4158 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48108.