Domestic Abuse or Assault? How The Difference Can Affect Your Children

September 2, 2017 Abuse and Neglect Attorney
Parent threatening child with stick
Domestic abuse charges can have a huge impact on your kids and family from a CPS involvement standpoint.

This is a question we get asked a lot. What is the difference between Domestic Abuse and Assault? Is there even a difference in Michigan? And if so, how could it affect me and my children? We understand that this can be a confusing subject, so we’ve decided to break it down for you in the hopes of making things a little easier to understand. Here goes…

Domestic Abuse:

Under Michigan law, Domestic Abuse, which is also known as Domestic Violence and Domestic Assault, is defined as any form of domestic violence done to any person who is in a domestic relationship with you. This could include a wife or husband, a girlfriend or boyfriend, a life partner, and even an adult child living in your home. Harming a young child would be classified as child abuse, not domestic abuse.

Domestic Abuse is any kind of assault or battery. In fact, the victim doesn’t even need to be injured for prosecutors to bring a domestic assault charge against you. The relationship between the alleged assailant and the alleged victim is what defines this charge.

Domestic Abuse charges fall into two categories in Michigan: Domestic Assault and Aggravated Domestic Assault. The difference is that domestic assault is any form of assault or battery of the victim and could result in misdemeanor charges punishable by up to 93 days in jail and a $500 fine. Aggravated Domestic Assault is the charge used when the victim is harmed badly enough to need medical attention, but the violence didn’t involve a weapon. This would be charged also as a misdemeanor but the jail time would be increased to 1 year and the fines would be $1,000.


Assault, without the ‘domestic’ attachment, refers to any act of violence, or imminent violence against another person who isn’t in a relationship with the assailant. In Michigan there are several ways that Assault can be charged.

Simple Assault:

This refers to the basic crime of assaulting or battering someone. If someone assaults, and/or batters another person, this is charged as a misdemeanor which is punishable by up to 93 days in jail, a possible $500 fine, or both.

Aggravated Assault:

An aggravated assault is defined as battery with an aggravated injury. Similar to simple assault, this charge doesn’t include the use of a weapon and so is still charged as a misdemeanor. It is  punishable by up to 1 year in jail, with a fine of $1,000, or both.

Felonious Assault:

Felonious Assault refers to assault that involved the use of a dangerous weapon. However, isn’t limited to only a gun, a knife or brass knuckles. Numerous things can qualify as dangerous weapons if they can be used to harm someone else. A beer bottle, a glass ashtray and even tools can count as dangerous weapons. This charge is a felony under Michigan law and is punishable by up to four years in prison and fines of up to $2,000, or both.

The main difference, when it comes to your children, is that the average Assault charge doesn’t end up impacting your children directly. Domestic Assault, on the other hand, often results in the arresting officer calling CPS. Child Protective Services starts an investigation, and in many cases, parents have their children temporarily removed from their care. In some cases, the abuser is charged for domestic assault, and so is the other parent, who is accused of failing to protect the children! All in all, assault that happens in the home can often have far more complicated results for a family!

If you or a loved one have been charged with Domestic Violence in Michigan, or are facing a CPS investigation as a result of Domestic Abuse, contact us immediately at 866-766-5245. The highly skilled child abuse and neglect defense attorneys at The Kronzek Firm have decades of experience successfully defending clients battling for their right to parent in the face of abusive home situations. Call us today. We are here to help you.