CrimeScene--450x267Common Crimes

Information on crimes that are commonly charged in Michigan. If you need legal assistance, please contact a lawyer.

 

Assaulting, Resisting, or Obstructing
an Officer

Statute: MCL 750.81d(1)
Crime Group: Person
Sentence Class: G
Minimum Sentence: 0 Days
Maximum Sentence1: 24 Months
Maximum Fine: $2,000.00
Jury Instructions: MCJI2d 13.01, 13.02
Sex Offender Registration Required: No

Statutory Language:

(1) Except as provided in subsections (2), (3), and (4), an individual who assaults, batters, wounds, resists, obstructs, opposes, or endangers person who the individual knows or has reason to know is performing his or her duties is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 2 years or a fine of not more than $ 2,000.00, or both.

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Discussion:

To convict a defendant of Resisting or Obstructing an Officer in Michigan, a prosecutor must show that the defendant either assaulted, battered, wounded, resisted, obstructed, or opposed a law enforcement officer, firefighter, or emergency worker who was performing an official duty as such. The prosecution must also show that the defendant either knew or had reason to know the individual was performing his/her official duties.

These cases often boil down to “he said, she said” arguments in which the outcome will depend on whose version of events jurors believe. Sometimes, jurors will have to determine if the defendant had sufficient knowledge that the alleged victim was performing an official duty. The most frequent issue the prosecution will run into is the knowledge of the defendant. The issue of “knowledge” is complex as the law allows for an inference of “reason to know.” Whether a defendant “had reason to know” the alleged victim was performing an official duty is separate and distinct from actual knowledge, potentially making the actual ignorance of a defendant immaterial.

Prosecutors may sometimes allow a defendant to plead to the lesser crime of “Assault” (MCL 750.81a(1)), a misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of one year in jail and/or $1,000.00. In some cases, a defendant who is between the ages of 17 and 21 (or between 21 and 24 years of age with approval from the prosecutor) may be eligible for sentencing under the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act (“HYTA”, MCL 762.11). HYTA is a deferred sentencing program that recognizes that when people are young, they often make stupid mistakes that should not haunt them for the rest of their lives. If a defendant is sentenced under HYTA, the court allows the defendant to offer a guilty plea, but takes the plea “under advisement” without entering it as a conviction. The court will then place the defendant on probation for a term set by the court. A defendant who successfully completes the probation will have all charges dropped and no public record of the offense will remain. However, a defendant who does not successfully complete the HYTA probation will have his/her probation revoked, the conviction will be entered, and a new (usually harsher) sentence will be imposed without a trial. HYTA status may be granted by a judge as many times as the judge wants; there is no “one per lifetime” limitation (although many judges do have a “one HYTA” policy).

A defendant convicted under this statute will typically be sentenced according to the Michigan sentencing guidelines. Because these guidelines consider both the nature of the current crime and the past record of the defendant—and because the guidelines are “advisory only” and judges are not required to follow them—it is impossible to predict a likely sentence without taking a look at the specific facts of a defendant’s case and reviewing the past record of a defendant, and even then such predictions are an “educated guess” at best.
 

1Maximum sentence shown is for a first-time felony offender. Prior felonies make a defendant liable for “Habitual Offender” (“HO”) sentencing enhancement. Thus, for a defendant with one prior felony or attempted felony (“HO2”), the maximum sentence raises to 36 months (3 years); for a defendant with two prior felonies or attempted felonies (“HO3”), the maximum sentence raises to 48 months (4 years); and a defendant with three or more prior felonies or attempted felonies (“HO4”) faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. Additionally, defendants with prior convictions for drug offenses—even in other jurisdictions—may be subject to doubling of the maximum fines and imprisonment.
 

 

 

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