Senate cracks down on domestic violence

LANSING —The Michigan Senate approved a bipartisan package of legislation that would increase penalties for repeat domestic violence offenders, said sponsor Sen. Rick Jones.

Senate Bills 845-848 increase penalties for repeat domestic violence offenders.  Senate Bill 48 amends the Michigan penal code to make assault by strangulation or suffocation a specific felony

Under current law, it is nearly impossible to send an individual who is a habitual offender to prison unless a more serious offense is involved.

"For thirty-one years I responded to domestic violence calls,” said Jones, former sheriff of Eaton County. “Unfortunately, many of those calls were at the same house with the same offenders and victims. I have seen cases where victims were beaten, burned, run over and shot. Some perpetrators are so violent that we must find safe houses for their victims. It’s time to get toughon these habitual offenders."

Measures in the “Domestic Violence Awareness Package” would:

  • Enhance penalties for conviction of a second or third domestic violence offense by allowing prosecutors to use a prior deferred offense against the   perpetrator;
  • Increase the penalty for a third conviction of domestic violence from the current two-year felony to a five-year felony; and
  • Amend the sentencing guidelines for a third conviction of domestic violence to make prison time more likely for habitual offenders.

"By working together, we can show the cowards who abuse their spouses that their behavior is not tolerated in Michigan," said Jones, R-Grand Ledge. "This legislation targets habitual offenders and will provide further protection for victims of domestic violence."