The two most common problems in immigration cases are domestic violence convictions and drunk driving convictions.  Those convictions always make my job very difficult, whether I am trying to earn immigration status for someone, keep someone from losing their immigration status, or simply trying to get someone a bond for release from immigration detention.  

My clients often do not understand domestic violence convictions.  I think the reason is that Michigan has very strict laws about domestic violence.  Usually, they are very surprised to learn that something as simple as a push or a shove to move someone out of their way as they try to go through a door can be enough for a domestic violence conviction. Through these blogs, I will try to explain what domestic violence is, how someone can defend against it, and how a conviction can affect someone’s immigration status.

The most common form of domestic violence is when someone assaults or batters a family or household member.  But what is battery?  This is an old legal word that has a very specific meaning.  In Michigan, battery is defined as any harmful or offensive touching of a person, or touching something closely connected with the person of another.  This means an assault happens even when a person did not even touch the body, head, hair, arms, or legs of the victim.  For example, a person could simply pull on the clothes of another or knock off their hat.  This could still be domestic violence.  Although, the “harmful or offensive contact” must be intentional.  It cannot be an accident.  

Domestic violence does not require any visible injury.  Even if there is no redness or bruising or cuts or any other marks, it does not matter.  In certain circumstances, a person can be found guilty of domestic violence even if he or she merely frightens a person to think that he or she is about to be harmed.

It’s important to note that after a victim complains to the police, it usually does not matter if the victim decides later to take back his or her statements, or does not want the case to go forward.  After the police have the first statement about the incident, the case can continue even if the victim does not want it to continue.  In my practice, I have seen many men and women call the police complaining of domestic violence out of anger, and later try to change his or her mind when they realize the consequences.

I will be discussing domestic violence deeper in upcoming posts.  Stay tuned and thank you for reading.

Walls are a funny thing. From a practical standpoint, it’s much easier to tear one down than it is to build. But politically, around the world, we’ve always had hard time letting go of our walls. Just look at China.