The Domestic Violence Case Process in Huron County
Domestic violence is defined as a pattern of assaultive and coercive behaviors, including physical, sexual and psychological attacks. It applies to persons who are or were married, who are or were cohabitating, who have or had a dating relationship, or who have a child in common.
Due to the complex nature of domestic violence it is important for a victim to contact the Domestic Violence Victim Advocate in the Prosecutor’s Office as soon as possible. There are numerous questions that the Prosecutor’s Office will need answered before it proceeds. Most often the case is charged as a misdemeanor and will follow the same procedures as a misdemeanor crime.
If the officers find reasonable cause to believe that the crime of domestic r violence was committed, they are required to arrest the assailant. After he is arrested, he will be taken into custody and booked. He will be held until the next court session when he will be arraigned. If arraignment is not held within 24 hours, he will be released on interim bond, after being held for 20 hours.
If defendant does not have a prior conviction of an assaultive nature, he will most likely be eligible for a Domestic Violence Deferral. However, just because he is eligible and the Prosecutor offers it to him, it does not mean the defendant will accept the offer. If the defendant does accept the offer, the decision to have it taken under deferral is ultimately up to the Judge. Each specific case needs to meet one of two criteria, in order for the Judge to accept it.
The two criteria are:
- the parties have a child in common, and/or
- the parties want to reconcile.
A deferral is essentially probation. After the defendant pleads guilty, the defendant is placed on probation for approximately 6 months. If during those six months, the defendant complies with the Court’s order of probation, then the case will be dismissed at the end of the six months and it does not become a part of the defendant’s criminal record. A Domestic Violence Deferral is only offered to first time offenders.
If a defendant does not comply with his probation (deferral), the Judge may revoke the probation and sentence the defendant to up to the maximum penalty possible. The defendant does not have the right to a trial because he has already pled guilty and the guilty plea is then entered as a conviction on the defendant’s permanent record, and the defendant will be sentenced.
No Contact Orders
(Pre-Trial Release Protection Orders, PTRPO) Once a defendant has been arraigned on an assaultive charge, the Court will most often enter a PTRPO that prohibits direct or indirect contact with the victim. The order typically prohibits the defendant from being within 100 ft. of the victim and/or the victim’s residence. If alcohol was a factor in the assault, tire Judge may also state in the PTRPO that the defendant is not to possess or consume alcohol or to be in places where it is sold for consumption on the premises.
If a victim of domestic violence wants the PTRPO lifted, he can come in and meet with the Domestic Violence Advocate and sign an affidavit to dissolve the PTRPO. If the Advocate and the Prosecutor agree to the dissolution of the PTRPO, they will sign the affidavit and it then goes to the Court for the Court’s consideration and signature’ If the judge signs the affidavit, the clerk makes 3 true copies. One is kept in the Prosecutor’s file, one to the victim, and one to the defendant or defendant’s attorney.
If the victim does not want the PTRPO dissolved, they may have a copy of the Order for their reference.
If the PTRPO is not applicable in a particular case the victim may apply for a Personal Protection Order (PPO).
Applying for a PPO
The following will help you apply for a PPO:
- Where do I get a PPO?
Help in completing the forms is available from Safe Place, (989) 269-5300.
- Who can get a PPO?
Anyone who has been physically, emotionally, or sexually abused by a spouse, former spouse, family member, partner; other parent of a child, current or former roommate, or current or former person in a dating relationship can apply for a PPO, as well as anyone who has been stalked repeatedly harassed to the point of being terrorized, intimidated or threatened).
- What should I bring?
Bring any information that supports the reason you believe you need a PPO. Police records, medical records, and photographs are examples of information you should bring with you. Have as much information about your abuser as you can: Date of Birth, Hair Color, Eye Color, Height, Weight, Address, Social Security Number, Driver’s License Number, etc. Also, bring along any court documents you may have, such as custody orders, lease agreements, divorce papers, etc.
- What should I expect when I get to the Court?
The Clerk will assign a case number and will forward the documents to the Circuit Court Judge. A date for a court hearing will be set. You should be prepared to testify.