Visitor Question

Son gruesomely assaulted at bar and the attacker claiming self defense?

Submitted By: Sandy (Michigan)

My son was at a night club and was hit with a gun in the face and hospitalized with severe injuries requiring surgery. The police talked to the attacker who said he didn’t have a gun and had a friend of his state that he was a witness. The friend said he hit him with his fist because he thought my son was going to hit him.

My son had no witness so the prosecutor would not press charges.

Had it been the other way around, my son would have been arrested. Excuses from the police department were that my son needs a witness. How is this justice? Attorneys have said since it was at a club/bar there is no chance of prosecution.

I’ve asked why, when the hospital called the police, the police dept said they already took the report, but three days later when we called from the hospital they sent an officer out saying they had no report. Then a report was made but there was no arrest because that had to be done within 24 hours, so now it was just investigated.

The detective sent in his report for charges of assault with intent to do great bodily harm (less than murder) but the prosecutor said no charges will be filed. What can we do? How can we get justice done? Thank you for any perspective you can give.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Sandy,

You are referring to Michigan’s Penal Code Section 750.84 1(a)(b) which reads in part:

“A person who does either of the following is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 10 years or a fine of not more than $5,000.00, or both:

(a) Assaults another person with intent to do great bodily harm, less than the crime of murder.

(b) Assaults another person by strangulation or suffocation.”

If convicted of Section 750.84 (a) or (b), a defendant can be sentenced to a period of incarceration in state prison for up to ten (10) years – a fine of five thousand ($5,000.00) dollars, or both. If the defendant had 3 or 4 prior felony convictions, then as a “Habitual Offender,” the defendant can be sentenced to life in prison.

It is ultimately up to a prosecutor to decide if criminal charges will be filed against an individual.

In your son’s case, even if the prosecutor believes your son was the victim of a felony assault, unless he or she believes there is enough evidence to convict the attacker, the prosecutor has the discretion to not file the case and not present it to the grand jury for indictment. This is apparently what happened in the circumstances surrounding your son’s attack.

While it appears unlikely criminal charges will be filed, that does not preclude your son from pursuing a civil case against the nightclub and the attacker under the theory of negligence.

Under the legal doctrine of Premises Liability, a nightclub owner has a legal duty to do everything within reason to make the nightclub safe for its patrons.

If you are able to show the nightclub owner knew the aggressor had a propensity to attack other patrons, and with that knowledge the owner did not prohibit the attacker from entering the nightclub, then the owner might have breached his or her legal duty of care. That breach is referred to as Negligence.

With negligence comes a duty to compensate the person, in this case your son, for his medical bills and related expenses. Concurrently, the attacker is liable for any injuries he caused to your son, and the resulting costs of medical treatment and related expenses.

Learn more here: Felony Assault & Battery

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,


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