If you are involved in a violent relationship with a partner, you should know that Michigan has domestic violence laws that can protect you. Yet for many people in Michigan, it can be difficult to know whether certain actions or behavior constitute domestic violence and if it is possible to seek a personal protection order (PPO). To be sure, many people assume that domestic violence must involve physical violence, but this is not the case. Under Michigan law, domestic violence can take many different forms, including psychological or emotional abuse that takes the form of harassment. If you are facing any kind of abusive tactics from a current or former partner, or a person you currently live with or with whom you used to reside in the same home, you could be a victim of domestic violence if that person is sending threatening or harassing text messages. Likewise, if you send threatening or harassing text messages, you could face domestic violence charges and other consequences, especially if you share minor children with the person you are texting.
To make clear how texting harassment can be a form of domestic violence in Michigan, we want to provide you with some more information about Michigan domestic violence laws and how they might apply to text messaging.
Domestic Violence Can Involve Text Messaging if the Parties Have a Domestic Relationship
Text messaging certainly can be used as a form of harassment and potentially may rise to the level of assault, depending upon the language in the text messages. In order for texting harassment to be a form of domestic violence, the parties involved (i.e., the person sending the text messages and the person receiving them) must have a domestic relationship as it is defined by Michigan law.
Emotional and Psychological Abuse Through Text Messages
Domestic violence can include emotional and psychological abuse, and these forms of abuse can occur through text messages. In text, a party might threaten you with harm or threaten to harm your children or your pets or other family members. Texting that constitutes emotional or psychological abuse can also include harassment in which the perpetrator alleges that you are to blame for the end of the relationship and the subsequent abuse, or harassment in which the perpetrator tries to manipulate you through text messages.
Just because text messages are not a form of physical or bodily violence does not mean that they cannot constitute domestic violence in Michigan.
Punishment for Domestic Violence Texting Harassment
According to the Michigan State Police, a domestic violence conviction is a misdemeanor offense that can be punished with a fine of up to $500 and a jail term of up to 93 days. Subsequent offenses, or more serious domestic assault charges, can result in longer terms of imprisonment and steeper fines.
Contact a Domestic Violence Attorney in Michigan
Do you have questions about seeking a personal protection order (PPO) or you need help defending against domestic violence in your child custody case or other family law matters, one of our experienced Michigan family law attorneys can assist you with your case. Do not hesitate to get in touch with our firm to learn more about the services we provide. Contact the Law Offices of Michael A. Robbins today to discuss your case with one of our lawyers.