The words “assault” and “battery” are usually used together to describe the criminal act of physical violence, or the threat of physical violence, against another person. These two words have distinctly separate meanings. However, they also have many similarities and often occur together. While assault can involve just a threat of violence, battery involves the intentional offensive or harmful touching of another person.
The Three Elements of Battery
For a person to be convicted of battery, the following three elements must have been present:
- The touching was intentional.
- The touching was offensive or harmful.
- The victim did not consent to the touching.
It may come as a surprise that battery does not require an intent to harm, only an intent to make contact with the victim. So, accidentally bumping into a person who subsequently falls down and is injured is not battery. But spitting on someone, although it does not result in injury, may constitute battery. Basically, if you make offensive or harmful contact with another person, you may be charged with battery. A Boston defense lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you are facing battery charges.
Penalties for Battery in Massachusetts
If you have been charged with battery, you may be wondering what penalties you are facing. In MA, individuals convicted of this offense may receive the following penalties:
- First offense: Up to two-and-a-half years in jail, and a fine of up to $1,000.
- When bodily injury to a child occurs: Up to five years in prison.
- When significant bodily injury to a child occurs: Up to 15 years in prison.
- When serious bodily injury occurs, or the act is committed against a pregnant woman: Up to five years in prison, and a fine of up to $5,000.
- Second and subsequent offenses against a family member: Up to five years in prison.
As with any crime, penalties for battery are largely dependent on prior criminal history, previous battery-related convictions, and whether any aggravating circumstances were present when you committed the act. If, for example, you have no prior criminal record, you are not likely to face serious penalties if you are charged with battery for spitting on someone. On the other hand, if you have an existing criminal record, and you are charged with battery for harming a pregnant woman, you may be facing some serious time behind bars. In either situation, the help of a skilled MA defense attorney can make all the difference in the world.
Domestic Assault and Battery
Domestic assault and battery is basically the same act as regular assault and battery, with one exception. Domestic assault and battery involves a family or household member. Penalties for this offense depend on the specifics of your particular case, but the standard penalty is up to 30 months in prison, and up to a $1,000 fine. In addition, you may be required to complete a Certified Batterer’s Program, which can cost more than $3,500 in some situations. Continue reading