Former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed new legislation in 2014 dramatically changing the way domestic violence is penalized in MA. The new law, An Act Relative to Domestic Violence, created two new crimes: domestic assault and domestic assault and battery. A MA criminal defense attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you are facing any type of domestic abuse charges.
Before we discuss domestic assault and battery laws, let’s first discuss what is meant by assault and assault and battery. Battery is a physical act of harmful or offensive contact. Assault basically means “attempted battery”, therefore, you don’t even have to make physical contact with the victim to be charged with assault. For an assault and battery conviction to be likely, the following circumstances must have been present:
- You touched the victim with no right or good excuse for doing so.
- You intended to touch the victim.
- The touching was harmful or offensive, and without the person’s consent.
With regard to the domestic assault and domestic assault and battery laws, the above mentioned elements must still be present. The difference from other assault cases, however, is that the victim must have been a family or household member. If the victim was your spouse, or a boyfriend or girlfriend, or if you have a child together, you will likely be charged with domestic assault or domestic assault and battery. If you are facing these charges, it’s in your best interest to consult with a Boston defense lawyer immediately.
Penalties for Domestic Assault and Domestic Assault and Battery
Here’s where the biggest differences come into play. The penalties for domestic assault and domestic assault and battery are more severe than for their non-domestic counterparts. Although the punishment is generally the same – up to two-and-a-half years in jail – the fines are much higher. Assault and battery carries fines of up to $1,000, whereas domestic assault and battery fines can be as high as $5,000.
If you are convicted of assault and battery (even if it’s a first-time offense), you must complete a batterer’s intervention program. Further, if you are charged with domestic assault or domestic assault and battery, the legislation passed in 2014 now requires you to wait at least six hours before posting bail. This is for the added protection of your spouse or family member. And if this isn’t your first conviction, things can get even worse. Second convictions carry an aggravated penalty, which can land you in a state prison for up to five years. Aggravated assault and battery is a felony offense. You can also be convicted of an aggravated offense under the following circumstances:
- If the victim is seriously injured, over age 65, or pregnant.
- If the victim had filed a no contact order against the defendant.
- If a dangerous weapon is involved (carries a penalty of up to 15 years in prison).
Altman & Altman, LLP – Domestic Abuse Defense Attorneys Serving All of MA
If you have been charged with any type of domestic abuse, the skilled defense team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. We have been protecting the rights of individuals charged with crimes for more than 50 years. Our knowledgeable, talented attorneys will thoroughly analyze the details of your case and will position you for the best possible outcome. We will fight tirelessly to protect your rights, reputation, and freedom. At Altman & Altman, LLP, our lawyers have an impressive track record of getting clients’ charges reduced, or dismissed altogether. People make mistakes. And sometimes those mistakes can change your life. Don’t make another one by hiring the wrong attorney. If you are facing charges for any type of domestic abuse, we can help. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.