Violent Crimes

Violent Crimes

At Cripps & Silver we have decades of experience representing individuals accused of violent crimes, including weapons charges, robbery, sex crimes, assault, and homicide. Serious charges need serious representation and no case is too challenging for us. Regardless of the charges, everyone deserves to have an attorney in their corner who will fight for them and ensure that their rights are protected every step of the way. We are passionate in our commitment to helping people out of difficult situations and guiding them through the criminal justice system with skill, compassion, and respect.

Well-known in Detroit for our skill and expertise in the courtroom, we go the distance for our clients in every case we handle, never backing down or giving up. The presumption of innocence is a cornerstone of the criminal justice system and we honor the presumption by providing zealous representation to our clients from beginning to end, whatever the charge. We have obtained numerous acquittals in jury trials, as well as dismissals and other favorable outcomes. We are never intimidated by police officers or seasoned prosecutors.

Whenever we take on a new case, we thoroughly investigate the facts and circumstances surrounding the allegations. We spend time with our clients, listening to their questions and concerns, and work with them to build as strong a defense as possible. We will explore every option while providing honest advice so that clients understand exactly what they are facing. We keep clients and their families well-informed throughout the process, both to avoid any surprises and to provide some comfort and peace of mind during what can be a stressful and overwhelming time.

Murder, Homicide, and Manslaughter

The most violent crimes in Michigan involve the death of another person. Michigan law includes different types of homicide charges depending on how the death happened, and the defendant’s intent at the time of the killing.

  • First Degree Murder involves a willful, deliberate, and premeditated killing, the death of a police officer or corrections officer, or a death resulting from the commission of another violent felony, drug offense, or robbery. It has a mandatory penalty of life in prison.
  • Second Degree Murder is any other intentional murder. It has a maximum penalty of life in prison, but does not have a mandatory minimum penalty.
  • Manslaughter involves negligent homicide due to the defendant’s recklessness or carelessness. This includes vehicular manslaughter where a person dies in an auto accident. It has a penalty of up to 15 years in prison, and fines of up to $7500, plus restitution to the victim’s family.


Violent or offensive contact, such as a physical fight, can result in assault charges. The severity of an assault and battery charge depends on how seriously the person was injured, and whether a weapon was used. These range from Simple Assault, a misdemeanor with a penalty of up to 93 days in jail and $500 in fines, all the way up to Assault to Commit Murder, a felony with a potential penalty of life in prison. If a defendant has a history of violent criminal convictions, including prior assault convictions, they could face “enhanced sentencing” as a habitual offender, which will increase the penalties upon conviction.

Domestic Violence

When the victim of an assault is a current or former spouse, romantic partner, co-parent of a common child, or resident in a defendant’s household, that defendant may be charged with domestic assault, Michigan’s name for domestic violence. At the base level, domestic assault is misdemeanor with a penalty of 93 days in jail and a $500 fine. However repeated charges, the use of a weapon, or serious injuries can increase those penalties.

Child Abuse

Similarly, if a defendant is alleged to have injured a child, their own or someone else’s, they may be charged with child abuse. First degree child abuse involves intentionally causing serious physical or mental harm to a child. It has a maximum penalty of life in prison. There are several reasons a person may be charged with second degree child abuse:

  • Child neglect
  • Child endangerment
  • Child cruelty

Second degree child abuse is a felony with a penalty of up to 10 years in prison for the first offense, or 20 years in prison for asecond or subsequent offense.

Third degree child abuse involves any knowing or intentional physical harm not severe enough to trigger first degree charges, as well as placing a child at an unreasonable risk of harm. It is a felony with a penalty of up to 2 years in prison for the first offense, or five years in prison for subsequent offenses.

Fourth degree child abuse is caused by neglectful behavior or placing a child at an unreasonable risk of harm. It is a misdemeanor with a penalty of up to 1 year in jail for a first offense. A second offense is a felony with a penalty of up to 2 years in prison.


Kidnapping occurs when a defendant knowingly restrains a person with the intent to:

  • Hold them for ransom or reward
  • Use them as a shield or hostage
  • Perform criminal sexual conduct against them
  • Transport them across state lines
  • Hold them for involuntary servitude
  • Engage in child sexually abusive activity (such as creation of child pornography)

A kidnapping charge can include human trafficking offenses. It is a felony that results in life in prison and a fine of up to $50,000 in addition to victim restitution costs.


Arson means using fire or explosives to burn, damage, or destroy property. First degree arson applies to apartment buildings and other multi-unit dwellings, as well as mines, and anytime a person is injured because of the fire or explosion. It is a felony with a maximum penalty of life in prison and a fine of up to $20,000 or three times the cost of the damage done. Second degree arson involves any other dwelling and is a felony with a penalty of up to 20 years, with the same fines as first degree arson.

Advocating for Defendants Charged with Violent Crimes in Michigan

Michigan judges have significant discretion in assigning sentences for many violent crimes. While some offenses have mandatory minimum prison sentences, in less severe cases, judges can forego a jail or prison sentence in favor of probation or a deferred sentence. We understand the alternative sentencing options available to defendants charged with violent crimes. We carefully explain the consequences of any violent crime conviction to our clients, and advocate on their behalf to ensure that any sentence will suit the circumstances of the crime, and the needs of our clients.

How a Detroit Violent Crimes Attorney Can Help

If you have been accused of a violent crime and want experienced, hard-working, compassionate advocates to fight on your behalf, contact Cripps & Silver now.