Have you been charged with Domestic Assault and Battery or Domestic Violence in Massachusetts? If you answered yes, then you need to speak with a Massachusetts Domestic Assault and Battery Lawyer. Almost every police department in Massachusetts applies a zero-tolerance policy towards domestic violence. In fact, there is a law in Massachusetts, MGL c209A, § 6(7) ordering police officers to make an arrest in a domestic violence investigation.
Just being charged with a domestic assault and battery in Massachusetts can have serious consequences. Many prosecutors in Massachusetts are specially trained in handling domestic violence cases and some courts even have specialty courts solely devoted to domestic violence cases. Penalties for a domestic violence conviction include jail, probation, mandatory classes like a certified batters program or anger management, fines, and the loss of rights like owning a firearm.
What is Domestic Assault and Battery in Massachusetts?
Domestic violence applies when someone alleges violence that are in a substantial dating relationship, are family members or roommates that live together. Once police in Massachusetts determine that domestic violence occurred then it is treated differently than other crimes in Massachusetts. For example, in cases of domestic abuse police officers are permitted to make an arrest even if they did not see the abuse first hand. In cases that are not domestic violence police officers in Massachusetts are not allowed to make an arrest.
Also, once someone is arrested for Domestic Violence they are not allowed to be released from police custody for a 6 hour cooling off period and cannot be arraigned before a judge for an additional 3 hours. No other crimes have such a cooling-off period.
What Are Domestic Violence Crimes?
Assault and Battery on a Family or Household Member is the domestic violence charge in Massachusetts.
- Violation of a Restraining Order
- Assault and Battery on a Family or Household Member
- Assault and Battery on Person Protected by an Abuse Prevention Order
- Aggravated Assault and Battery
- Assault and Battery
- Assault and Battery with a Dangerous Weapon
- Kidnapping/ Unlawful Restraint
- Intimidation of a Witness
- Malicious Destruction of Property
- Criminal Harassment
What Are the Penalties for Domestic Assault and Battery?
The penalties for domestic assault and battery in Massachusetts are some of the strictest in the country. First, unlike in non-domestic violence situations judges may impose pre-trial conditions on a person without their consent. That means a judge can order that some stay away and have no contact with the alleged victim while the case is ongoing. Failure to obey those conditions can result in bail being revoked and someone being held in jail for up to ninety days on a violation.
People convicted of domestic violence will have the conviction noted on their criminal records, which can make it impossible for them to get or keep a job, housing, or even education opportunities in the future. In addition to having a criminal record people convicted of a domestic violence also face jail or probation. The penalty for assault and battery in Massachusetts is two years in House of Correction.
Probation is another typical outcome of a domestic violence case in Massachusetts. In Massachusetts probation can be for any amount of time the judge sets. While on probation in Massachusetts a person must pay a monthly fee, report to a probation officer as requested, not leave the state of Massachusetts without permission, live by certain conditions and if that person gets any kind of trouble that probation can be revoked and the person be sent to jail. While on probation for a domestic violence case people usually are required to complete either a Certified Batters Programs or an Anger Management program.
What is a Certified Batterers Program?
A Massachusetts Certified Batterers Program is a very intense program that certified and monitored by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. The program is specific to people involved in domestic violence. A batterers is a male or female only group of not more than fifteen people. It consists of at least 40 weekly sessions of 1-2 hours a time along with individual counseling. The victim may contact the victim and assist him or her and the program is connected with a battered victims agency. The Massachusetts Department of Health Massachusetts certified batterers programs may charge up to $3500 per class and maintains a database of all people that attend the program. If a person is ordered to complete the program and fails to do so his or her probation may be revoked and could go to jail. Certain convictions or continuation without a finding require a certified batters programs.
What is an Anger Management Program?
An anger management program is not regulated or certified by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. They are not specific to domestic violence and can be used for any type of situation. Anger management classes are typically only 8-10 sessions. Anger management classes do not contact or work with the victim. These classes cost only a fraction of the certified batterers program and there is no statewide database.
How to Defend a Domestic Assault and Battery Case in Massachusetts?
If you have been accused of domestic violence in Massachusetts it is important to speak with an experienced Massachusetts domestic violence attorney or a Massachusetts criminal lawyer who has experience in domestic violence cases as soon as possible. A Massachusetts domestic violence lawyer can help you through the entire process and help you develop the best defense for a Massachusetts domestic violence charge. A domestic violence attorney can help you get evidence for case including all police reports, state agency reports, copies of police tapes and 911 tapes. A Massachusetts criminal attorney can help you by putting together the best defense to you domestic violence case.
A domestic violence lawyer can explain all of your defenses like self-defense or a defense of others. An attorney can help you with any rights you or your spouse may have. A spouse never has to testify against another spouse in a criminal case. In some cases, an attorney can help you decide if applying for criminal charges against the victim can help your case.
This is why it is always in a person’s best interest to get the best Massachusetts criminal defense attorney when they have been charged with or even accused of domestic violence in Boston Quincy and throughout Massachusetts.
Does My Spouse Have to Testify Against Me?
Never. A spouse has a constitutional right to refuse to testify against another spouse. Even if your spouse tells the police he or she does not want to press charges police are still obligated to make an arrest.
Why Do Police Only Arrest One Person For Domestic Violence?
When police officers arrive at the scene they are trained to make observations and conduct an investigation. Police officers speak to the parties separately and interview any witnesses. Police are strongly discouraged from arresting both parties even if they believe both parties were abusing one another. According to the Massachusetts Guidelines on Domestic Abuse dual arrests trivialize the situation and may increase the chances of further abuse. In these cases police determine who the “dominant aggressor” was and arrest that person. Police are trained to make an arrest if they believe there is probable cause to make an arrest and not whether the victim will testify at a later date. Even if the alleged victim does not want to “press charges” or pursue the case police are required to make an arrest.
Massachusetts Domestic Violence and Mandatory Reporting
Police officers are required by Massachusetts law to file a report with the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families every time the police officer believes that a child under 18 has been abused or neglected. This report is called a 51a report. It is filed against the who the police believe committed the domestic abuse. The alleged victim should be notified that police are filing the report.
In cases where police believe a disabled person has been neglected or abused by a caretaker, police must file a report with the Disabled Persons Protection Commission. In cases where an elderly person has been allegedly abused police must file a report with the Executive Office of Elder Affairs.
MASSACHUSETTS DOMESTIC ASSAULT AND BATTERY ATTORNEY PATRICK DONOVAN
The Law Office of Patrick T. Donovan has represented people who have been accused of and charged with domestic violence throughout the state of Massachusetts. Attorney Patrick T. Donovan is committed to aggressively pursuing the best possible outcome for each and every one of our clients. Patrick Donovan has appeared in over fifty courts in Massachusetts and has fought to get the possible result for each of his clients.
As an Assistant District Attorney, Patrick Donovan is well aware of the many legal strategies both law enforcement and district attorneys will use when trying to obtain a domestic violence conviction. Mr. Donovan uses his prior knowledge as a prosecutor to his clients’ advantage by challenging evidence submitted by state attorneys, investigating faulty law enforcement procedures, and ultimately providing the best criminal defense for every single one of his clients.
Call the Law Office of Patrick T. Donovan today for your free consultation at 617 479-1800.
Best Massachusetts Domestic Violence Attorney
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