When a Family Argument Escalates… Understanding Domestic Violence Charges in MA

Also known as domestic abuse, domestic violence charges are aggressively prosecuted in Massachusetts. To understand how to handle these charges, it’s important to first understand what constitutes domestic violence. In MA, domestic violence includes almost any crime of abuse that is committed by one household member against another. Types of abuse include:

  • An attempt to cause physical harm
  • Causing fear of imminent physical harm
  • Making another engage in sexual relations by physical force, threat, or duress

As you can see from the different forms of abuse above, domestic violence can be emotional and sexual, as well as physical. It can even include economic control and neglect. For example, if a man refuses to buy food for his wife unless she has sexual relations with him, or if a boyfriend locks his girlfriend in the basement for two days because he is jealous of her male friendships.

In order to make an arrest for domestic violence in MA, a police officer must have probable cause to believe that a domestic violence offense has occurred within the past four hours. If the officer believes this to be the case, he or she will arrest the individual believed to be the main aggressor in the incident. In some situations, this is obvious. In others, the primary aggressor is difficult to determine. If a restraining order was violated in the process, state law requires the mandatory arrest of the one in violation.

Charges Cannot be Dropped

In MA, domestic violence cases are not dismissed, even if the victim decides to drop charges. Once filed, only the prosecutor is able to drop charges. And the judge has to approve the prosecutor’s request for case dismissal. It is not uncommon for the State to prosecute a case even when the victim wishes to drop charges and refuses to testify against the defendant. A MA criminal defense lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you are facing charges for domestic violence.

Penalties for Domestic Abuse in MA

Domestic abuse can be a misdemeanor or a felony. How this charge is classified, and how it is penalized, is largely dependent on the underlying crime, and the defendant’s prior criminal history. In most cases, domestic violence convictions will result in a prison sentence of up to two-and-a-half years and a fine of up to $1,000. Probation, counseling, and substance abuse treatment are often required as well. In some cases, such as when a restraining order was violated in association with the crime, a domestic violence conviction may bring up to five years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines. A Boston domestic violence defense lawyer can help you determine what penalties you may be facing based on the nature of your crime.

Altman & Altman, LLP – Boston’s Top Domestic Violence Defense Law Firm

If you have been charged with domestic violence, or any other type of criminal offense, the skilled legal team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. Our experienced attorneys have been defending people charged with crimes for more than 50 years. We will fight tirelessly to protect your rights, reputation, and freedom. Our knowledgeable lawyers have an impressive track record of getting clients’ charges reduced, or dismissed entirely. At Altman & Altman, LLP, we will analyze the unique details of your case to determine the most appropriate legal strategy, and we will position you for the best possible outcome. Our attorneys will be by your side throughout the entire process. People make mistakes; don’t make another one by hiring the wrong attorney. If you are facing criminal charges, we can help. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.


Contact Information