Michigan: Misdemeanor vs. Felony Assault

Representing Clients In Macomb, Washtenaw, Wayne, Genesee County, and all over the State of Michigan.


Misdemeanors are crimes that are judged to be less severe or egregious than felonies. Felonies are often deemed to be more violent or they involve more severe injury or aggression on the part of the defendant. Misdemeanors under Michigan law have 3 categories while felonies have 8 lettered classes.

Now while misdemeanors might have fewer consequences than felonies, that does not mean they should just be ignored. Misdemeanors can be serious. They can negatively affect someone’s future and without a lawyer, your chances at a beneficial outcome drastically drop. 

Misdemeanor Assault and Battery in Michigan

Simple assault in Michigan is a misdemeanor punishable by fines and jail time. Simple assault is the act of threatening to hurt someone. If the act was carried out, that’s to say a threat was launched and a punch was dropped then it turns into simple battery, also a misdemeanor. 

But, if that one punch or a set of punches caused, unintentionally, serious bodily injury, then that could mean thousands in fines and a year in jail. These forms of assault are all misdemeanors and as you can see they carry real consequences. These don’t compare to the consequences one faces if the charges turn into felonies. 

What is Felonious Assault?

In Michigan, Assault with a Dangerous Weapon (AWADW) is known as Felonious Assault. This does not mean that AWADW is the only felony assault or battery charge one can face. Some other felony assault charges are: 

  • Assault while committing another felony
  • Assault with intent to maim
  • Assault with intent to murder or seriously injure
  • Assault of a pregnant woman, police officer, public servant, or emergency personnel
  • Strangulation

Assault charges that are felonies are distinguished in severity by the physical injury the victim alleges. The most serious ‘misdemeanor’ is known as a High Court Misdemeanor. Despite the name, it is actually considered a felony. So, in total there are technically 9 felony classes in Michigan in total.

Felony strangulation is the act of assaulting another person with intent to do great bodily harm, but not murder, and doing so through strangulation or suffocation. Even if no visible marks, bruises, or lesions are on the alleged victim’s body the prosecution can still bring forth charges. This for example is a Class D Felony, punishable by up to 10 years of imprisonment. 

Assaulting a police officer or public servant could mean anywhere between 2 and 20 years of imprisonment depending on the details of the case and extent of the injuries. 

Why you need Duplessis Law

There are unforeseen consequences to a misdemeanor or felony conviction. The statutes these crimes are defined under call for certain jail time and/or fines if someone is found guilty. But, what are the long-term consequences of being found guilty of a misdemeanor or felony? 

Under Michigan law, an employer is legally allowed to ask about convictions for both misdemeanors and felonies. Generally, employers cannot simply refuse to hire someone because they have a previous conviction, but a conviction can lead to a drop in future employment and income opportunities. A conviction can also affect someone’s education, housing, and immigration status. 

There are always two sides to every story. Criminal accusations are just that, accusations. Our country’s justice system, guaranteed under the Constitution, protects everyone until they are proven guilty. In order to guarantee these protections, you should retain a criminal defense attorney. Without an attorney, you could get lost in the complexities of a criminal proceeding. Felony convictions mean years in jail and a permanent criminal record. Without the proper legal help, you could face less than ideal outcomes. Maximize your outcome through Ashlee Duplessis. She’s fought for her clients in the past and she’ll fight for you now. Contact her today by clicking here.