Domestic violence is a serious and growing problem for married couples and is one of the leading contributors toward the dissolution of a marriage. As a Michigan family lawyer and criminal attorney, I have represented numerous cases involving domestic violence within a home, some of which have threatened the lives of both the spouse and their children. It’s important for couples in Michigan to know that they can request a Personal Protection Order the instant their spouse exhibits violent tendencies in order to prevent a serious attack from taking place or in the even the violent behavior has already occurred and to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

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Michigan couples should be fully aware of their rights following a domestic violence situation, especially because they can not only file for divorce, but involve authorities so the attacker is brought to justice.  In fact, there is a new law that was passed earlier this year by the Michigan Legislature which can also help bring justice to victims.

The law, which went into effect on April 1, is aimed at attackers who use lethal force against their victims, specifically strangulation or suffocation. Under the law, strangulation and suffocation are now considered felony crimes, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000.

Although fairly new, there have already been a number of offenders who have been charged under this law, including Jacob Lee Rizer, a 30-year-old who was arrested after assaulting his wife last month in their in their Macomb Township mobile home during an argument. This is the first case in which a defendant was charged under this law in Macomb County.

Rizer was accused of strangling his wife, causing her to lose consciousness. However, he was able to evade the maximum penalty by pleading guilty to a misdemeanor domestic violence offense. In lieu of imprisonment, Rizer was placed on probation for one year and ordered to undergo a domestic violence prevention program.

On another note, it’s important to examine the victim’s testimony of the incident because it shows just how crucial it is for domestic violence victims to obtain a family attorney so their rights can be protected.

In her testimony to police, the victim explained Rizer grabbed her by the throat and slammed her against a wall. However, she said that in 14 years of marriage, her husband had never behaved violently toward her, which is sometimes an excuse victims give themselves in order to forgive their partners.

There are times when the signs of violent behavior are present all along throughout a marriage, but victims turn a blind eye because they refuse to believe their spouse is capable of harming them. Instead of seeking legal help with a Michigan family lawyer to file for divorce or with the police, they allow themselves to continually be victimized.

If you have been attacked by your spouse and have contemplated ending your marriage, let us help you obtain the justice you deserve. Our Michigan divorce attorneys here at The Law Offices of Stuart R. Shafer, P.C. can help you file for divorce and will make sure a Personal Protection Order is filed on your behalf as well.

Contact us today for a consultation so we can protect your rights.