A Hazel Park man was charged with assault in connection with a stabbing last month at a Mount Clemens night spot according to an article titled, Lapeer County man hospitalized after stabbing at Mount Clemens nightclub, in the Macomb Daily on March 14, 2011.
The suspect was arraigned in 41-B District Court, located in Clinton Township, with a felony charge of assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder. The maximum penalty for this offense is 10 years in prison. The court set bond at $30,000.00.
The defendant is accused of stabbing a man outside the Hayloft Bar on Feb. 20, 2011. The victim, a 27-year-old man, was treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
Under Michigan Law, the offense known as “assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder” requires the prosecutor to prove that the defendant specifically intended to cause great bodily harm. Great bodily harm has been defined as “serious injury” of an aggravating nature. The seriousness of an injury along with the manner in which it was done may be introduced as evidence of the defendant’s intent.
However, an actual injury is not required to be charged with this offense as long as the defendant had the ability, or believed he had the ability, to commit the offense. For example, aiming a loaded gun at someone could be introduced in evidence to show the ability to shoot someone. At this point, a person could be charged with an offense of “assault with a dangerous weapon”. To elevate this to the offense of “assault with intent to do great bodily harm”, more evidence would be required.
A common defense to an assault charge is self-defense. If a person acts in self-defense, his or her actions are excused and he or she is not guilty of any crime. When this defense is introduced, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act in self-defense.
Many of our clients facing domestic violence or assault charges in Macomb County have asserted self-defense. When used, we ask for many details surrounding the incident. The main question I like to ask is: WHO WAS THE FIRST AGGRESSOR. If you have not been assaulted or were not in fear of an imminent assault, then you do not have a legitimate self-defense argument. The other factors that I look for are the words or statements made by the other party. For example, the other party to the fight may have said something like, “I am going to drag your face on the sidewalk”. These words, coupled with aggressive actions, could put someone in fear that the other party was going to act upon the earlier threat.
Self-defense requires diligent inquiry into many other details for effective results. In this regard, the issue of drug or alcohol use of the parties may be relevant. In addition, the relative physical size and strength of the parties can make a self-defense assertion stronger or weaker depending on the circumstances. If other individuals were involved, I like to take their statements and add them to our witness list as potential witnesses to be called upon to testify if necessary.
ABDO LAW FIRM 42550 Garfield Road, Suite 104A Clinton Township, MI 48038 Phone: 586-412-5555