Eric J. Smith--Macomb County Prosecutor


Domestic Violence Specialist:
Yasmine Poles

Eric Smith's Domestic Violence Unit concentrates on difficult and sensitive cases involving violence in the home. Domestic violence is defined as physical violence between spouses, former spouses, residents or former residents of the household, or individuals who have a child in common. The DV Unit handles cases ranging from 93 day misdemeanors to murder cases, and may also include child abuse cases.

Assistant Prosecutors in the unit are specially trained in the domestic violence cycle, and follow felony DV cases through the prosecution process from initiation to conclusion. This system of vertical prosecution enables the prosecutor to establish a rapport with the victim throughout the prosecution of the case, and ensures a consistent, fair, and aggressive approach. Victim advocacy services are also available to victims of domestic violence as they are to all victims of crimes in Macomb County.

Domestic violence statutes have changed dramatically in recent years. Unlike most other misdemeanors in which a police officer must observe the actual criminal act before he can arrest without a warrant, the law provides that an officer may make an arrest as long as he has probable cause to believe that the assault occurred. In 1994 new penalties were enacted for this class of crimes. The first conviction for a domestic violence assault is punishable by up to 93 days in jail, plus fines and costs. A second conviction, which is also a misdemeanor, is punishable by up to one year in jail. A third conviction becomes a felony, with up to 2 years incarceration.

Victims of domestic violence may also contact Turning Point for counseling and shelter at (586) 463-6990.


Michigan's Domestic Violence Statute

Michigan laws define "domestic violence" as an assault or an assault & battery by a

  • spouse
  • former spouse
  • person residing or having resided in the same household as the victim
  • person having a child in common with the victim
  • person with whom he/she has or has had a dating relationship

Michigan uses two classifications of domestic violence:

Domestic Assault   [MCL 750.81]

Victim need not be injured!
Criminal penalties (+ possible probation, counseling,
community service, etc.):
1st conviction (misdemeanor): up to 93 days in jail and/or $500 fine
2nd conviction (misdemeanor): up to 1 year in jail and/or $1,000 fine
3rd or more conviction (felony): up to 2 years in prison and/or $2,500 fine

Aggravated Domestic Assault   [MCL 750.81a]

Victim must receive serious or aggravated injuries (such as injuries requiring immediate medical attention)
Criminal penalties (+ possible probation, counseling, community service, etc.):
1st conviction (misdemeanor): up to 1 year in jail and/or $1,000 fine
2nd conviction (felony): up to 2 years in prison and/or $2,500 fine

As of 04/01/2002, a person arrested for Domestic Violence cannot be released from jail on an interim bond set by the jail. The person must be held until he or she can be arraigned, or has an interim bond set by a judge or district court magistrate. The judge or magistrate's interim bond can include conditions, such as having no contact with the victim. (See 2001 PA 198.)


What Does "Domestic Violence" Mean?

Domestic violence is a learned pattern of assaultive, physical, verbal, sexual and/or emotional behaviors in which one person in a relationship uses force and intimidation to dominate or control the other person.

The term "relationship" includes a current or former spouse, a family member, the other parent of your child, a current or former roommate, a current or former individual in a dating relationship, a domestic partner.

The domestic partner may be married or not married; heterosexual, gay or lesbian; living together, separated or dating. Domestic violence occurs in all ages, races, genders and social classes. The violence takes many forms and can happen all the time or once in a while. Examples of domestic violence are:

  • physical assault or abuse --- hitting, pushing, shoving, slapping, choking, punching, kicking, grabbing, beating, throwing her down, tripping, twisting arms, biting, using a weapon
  • threatened physical harm
  • sexual assault or abuse --- unwanted, forced sexual activity, making her do sexual things against her will, physically attacking the sexual parts of her body, etc.
  • stalking
  • intimidation
  • emotional abuse --- mind games, name-calling, put-downs, making the victim feel bad about herself
  • jealousy --- a sign of possessiveness and lack of trust
  • controlling behavior and forced isolation (from family or friends) --- controlling what the victim does, who the victim sees or talks to, where the victim goes, relocating to a remote area, etc.
  • economic abuse --- preventing the victim from getting or holding a job, and controlling the purse-strings by withholding money, taking the victims earned money, giving the victim an allowance, and or making them ask for money, etc.

An important step to help yourself or someone you know prevent or stop violence is recognizing the warning signs listed on the "Violence Wheel".


If you are in an abusive relationship ...


You are not alone.
You are not to blame.
You can get help.
Get medical attention if you have been physically injured. Save evidence to document the abuse (medical records, photographs of injuries and damage to your property, etc.). Make a safety plan, which may include figuring out the "warning signs" that come before abuse:

  • work out signals with neighbors to call the police
  • ask a friend or relative to stay with you
  • decide where you can go and what to take with you if you must leave (money, important documents, spare clothes, car keys, etc.)
  • protect your children

Report domestic violence and stalking to the police. They can & will:

  • protect you from immediate danger, and help you and your children get out of the house safely;
  • arrest the abuser without a warrant when there is reasonable cause to believe that an assault has taken place or that the abuser has violated a Personal Protection Order or a restraining order;
  • advise you of available shelter programs and other services in your area;
  • write out a police report which can be used to help prove the abuse occurred and show good cause for a judge to grant a personal protection order or a restraining order.


Resources Available for Domestic Violence Victims


Please visit our download page for informational brochures.


If your situation is an emergency, call 911! Otherwise, call the nearest Macomb County police department.


  • Mount Clemens General Hospital
    1000 Harrington Blvd.
    Mt. Clemens, MI 48043
    (586) 493-8000
  • St. John Macomb Hospital
    37400 Garfield, Suite 200
    Clinton Twp, MI 48036
    (586) 263-5220
  • Henry Ford Hospital-Center At Lakeside
    14500 Hall Rd
    Sterling Heights, MI 48313
    (586) 247-2700
  • Harbor Oaks Hospital
    35031 23 Mile Rd
    New Baltimore, MI 48047
    (586) 725-5777
  • Bi-County Hopsital
    13355 E. Ten Mile Road
    Warren, MI 48089
    (586) 759-7300


Domestic violence shelters can provide safe, short-term housing, information, and assistance in considering all the options available to victims. They can also help break down the isolation victims have experienced in their abusive relationships and provide support from others who have been through similar experiences. Shelters provide a variety of supportive services which are confidential and free of charge:

  • 24 hour confidential crisis hotline
  • shelter for victims and their children
  • crisis intervention
  • information and referrals
  • legal advocacy
  • housing assistance
  • transportation
  • child care
  • individual counseling and support groups
  • assistance in developing a safety plan.

Turning Point, Inc.
P.O. Box 1123
Mt. Clemens MI 48046
(586)463-6990 24 Hour Crisis Line
(586)463-4430 Business
(586)463-1771 Fax


Did You Know ... ?

... domestic violence affects a large percentage of our community?

  • Almost one-third of American women (31%) report being physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend at some point in their lives. (The Commonwealth Fund, Health Concerns Across A Women's Lifespan: The Commonwealth Fund 1998, Survey of Women's Health, May 1999)
  • 28% of high school and college students surveyed said that they had experienced violence in a dating relationship. (Levy, Barry (1991). Dating Violence: Young Women in Danger, Seattle, WA, Seal Press)
  • 43% of teenage girls (age 14-17) report knowing someone their age who has been hit or beaten by a boyfriend. (Children Now/Kaiser Permanente poll, December 1995)
  • In 55% of the cases where men are assaulting their partners, they are also assaulting their children. The battered mother may be suffering from physical and psychological injuries to the point that she cannot meet the needs of her children appropriately. (Murray A. Straus and Richard J. Gelles, Physical Violence in American Families, 1990.)
  • A woman is beaten every 15 seconds. (Bureau of Justice Statistics, Report to the nation on Crime and Justice. The Data.Washington DC Office of Justice Program, US Dept. of Justice. Oct 1983)
  • Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women between ages 15 and 44 in the United States - more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined. (Uniform Crime Reports, Federal Bureau of Investigation,1991)
  • Sexual assault is reported by 33% to 46% of women who are being physically assaulted by their husbands. (American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on Adolescence. Sexual Assault and the Adolescent. Pediatrics. 1994.)
  • Battered women are more likely to suffer miscarriages and to give birth to babies with low birth weights. (Surgeon General, United States, 1992)
  • 63% of the young men between the ages of 11 and 20 who are serving time for homicide have killed their mother's abuser. (March of Dimes, 1992)

... battering is not just a "momentary loss of temper."

  • The Surgeon General of the United States reports that 1 out of 5 women battered by their partners have been victimized over and over again by the same person.
  • The American Medical Association defines domestic violence as an ongoing, debilitating experience of physical, psychological, and/or sexual abuse.
  • Battering is the establishment of control and fear in a relationship through violence and other forms of abuse. The batterer uses acts of violence and a series of behaviors, including intimidation, threats, psychological abuse, isolation, etc. to coerce and to control the other person. The violence may not happen often, but it remains as a hidden (and constant) terrorizing factor. (Uniform Crime Reports, Federal Bureau of Investigation, 1990)
  • "One in five women victimized by their spouses or ex-spouses report they had been victimized over and over again by the same person." (The Basics of Batterer Treatment, Common Purpose, Inc., Jamaica Plain, MA)
  • If violence occurs once in a dating relationship, it is likely to occur again. (Levy, Barry (1991). Dating Violence: Young Women in Danger, Seattle, WA, Seal Press)

... domestic violence frequently produces serious injuries.

  • Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury for women age 15 to 44. More women are injured from domestic violence than rapes, muggings and auto crashes combined.
  • Michigan State Police statistics show that a Michigan woman is killed by a partner or former partner every 5 days.
  • In 1996, approximately 1,800 murders were attributed to intimates. The victim was female in almost 75% of the cases. (U.S. Department of Justice, Violence by Intimates: Analysis of Data on Crimes by Current or Former Spouses, Boyfriends, and Girlfriend, March 1998)
  • 20% of female homicide victims are between 15-24 years old. (Levy, Barry (1993). In Love and Danger, Seattle, WA, Seal Press)

... leaving an abusive relationship is not "easy".

  • A study by the United States Department of Justice states that the most dangerous time for a woman who is being battered is when she leaves.
  • In Michigan, 75% of the women who are killed by their partners are murdered after the relationship is over or as it ends.
  • Women who leave their batterers are at a 75% greater risk of being killed by the batterer than those who stay. (Barbara Hart, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1988)
  • Nationally, 50% of all homeless women and children are on the streets because of violence in the home. (Senator Joseph Biden, U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Violence Against Women: Victims of the System, 1991)
  • There are nearly three times as many animal shelters in the United States as there are shelters for battered women and their children. (Senate Judiciary Hearings, Violence Against Women Act, 1990)
  • Rape remains the most underreported violent crime in America. Only 16%, or approximately one of every six rapes, are ever reported to the police. Of the reported rapes, one quarter were reported to police more than 24 hours after the rape occurred. (National Victim Center and Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center, "Rape in America: A Report to the Nation", 1992)

... most battered women leave violent relationships.

  • Many battered women do leave their abusers permanently and succeed in building a life free of violence. Almost all battered women leave at least once.

... domestic violence knows no boundaries.

  • People of all socio-economic classes, races, religions, ethnic backgrounds, and sexual orientations can be victims of domestic violence. Many statistics have been gathered from lower-class families, but only because lower-class women are more likely to request assistance from agencies, so their problems are more visible. Many upper-class victims fear making their battering public because of social embarrassment and fear that it may harm their husband's careers. (Schulman, MA. "A Survey of Spousal Violence Against Women in Kentucky." Washington, DC. U.S. Government Printing Office, 1979)
  • Women of all cultures, races, occupations, income levels, and ages are battered - by husbands, boyfriends, lovers and partners. (Surgeon General Antonia Novello, as quoted in Domestic Violence: Battered Women, publication of the Reference Department of the Cambridge Public Library, Cambridge, MA)
  • "Approximately one-third of the men counseled (for battering) at Emerge are professional men who are well respected in their jobs and their communities. These have included doctors, psychologists, lawyers, ministers, and business executives." (For Shelter and Beyond, Massachusetts Coalition of Battered Women Service Groups, Boston, MA 1990)
  • Violence is the reason stated for divorce in 22% of middle-class marriages. (EAP Digest November/December 1991)

... married women are not the only victims of domestic violence.

  • People who are dating, separated, living together, divorced, have a child in common and/or are married, can be abused. Domestic violence can occur in any of these relationships.
  • Approximately 80% of sexual assaults against women are perpetrated by assailants known to the victim (friends, acquaintances, intimates, and family members). Acquaintance rape is particularly common among adolescent victims. (American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on Adolescence. Sexual Assault and the Adolescent. Pediatrics. 1994)
  • Male victims represent 5% of reported sexual assaults. (Heise, L.L. Reproductive freedom and violence against women: where are the intersections? J Law Med Ethics. 1993.)
  • 28% of high school and college students surveyed said that they had experienced violence in a dating relationship. (Levy, Barry (1991). Dating Violence: Young Women in Danger, Seattle, WA, Seal Press)
  • If violence occurs once in a dating relationship, it is likely to occur again. (id.)
  • Young people tend to interpret the violence of their partner as signifying love. (id.) Adolescents, especially adolescent girls, are at a greater risk for sexual assault then any other age group.
  • Adolescents who are sexually assaulted are at a greater risk for sexual assault as an adult. Of the women who reported being raped at some time in their lives, 22% were under 12 years old and 32% were 12 to 17 years old when they were first raped. (Prevalence, Incidence, and Consequences of Violence Against Women: Findings From the National Violence Against Women Survey, National Institute of Justice, 1998)
  • Young people tend to interpret the violence of their partner as signifying love. (Levy, Barry (1991). Dating Violence: Young Women in Danger, Seattle, WA, Seal Press)
  • Many teens do not identify forcible sex as sexual assault. In one study over 50% of high school boys and 42% of high school girls believed that there are times when it is "acceptable for a male to hold a female down and physically force her to engage in intercourse." (National Crime Center and Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center. Rape in America: A Report to the Nation. Arlington, VA; 1992:1-16)


... women are not "just as violent as men."

  • In 95% of domestic assaults, the man is the perpetrator of the violence. (Bureau of Justice Statistics. Report to the Nation on Crime and Justice. The Data. Washington, DC. Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, October 1983)
  • Male violence against women does much more damage than female violence against men; women are more likely to be injured than men (Murray A. Straus and Richard J. Gelles, Physical Violence in American Families, 1990)


ABA Commission on Domestic Violence   [American Bar Association] web version of the Domestic Violence Handbook, created in Oakland County, Michigan.

Family Violence Prevention Fund a national, non-profit organization that focuses on domestic violence education, prevention and public policy reform. Includes a Celebrity Watch, which chronicles celebrities in the news either as victims or perpetrators of domestic violence, and domestic violence "On the Air".

Higher Education Center Against Violence and Abuse (Univ. of Minnesota) scholarly papers on criminal justice, batterers' intervention, etc.

Michigan Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence

Macomb County Friend of the Court -- excellent summary of signs of control & power; early warning signs of abuse; myths/facts about domestic violence; how victims can be helped; effects of abuse on children; and more.

Shattered Lives, Broken Loves 60-article series on domestic violence, including interviews, images, links to related info and resources






Turning Point, Inc.

Violence Against Women[US Dept. of Justice]

Yahoo! search re: domestic violence


Eric J. Smith -- Macomb County Prosecutors Office


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2007 Macomb County Prosecutor | 1 South Main Mount Clemens MI 48043 | (586) 469-5350 | Disclaimer | Acknowledgments |