In 2014 a criminal law was passed in Massachusetts making Domestic Assault and Battery a specific crime, Assault and Battery on a Family or Household Member is a felony offense with penalties not more 5 years in state prison and 2 1/2 years in the House of Correction. Assault and Battery on a Family or Household member is defined in Massachusetts General Laws c 265 c 13. Massachusetts law now has enhanced penalties for people that have been previously convicted of Assault and Battery on a Family or Household member. If a person has been previously convicted a person is required to complete a certified batters program unless a judge makes written findings why a batters program should not be order.
What is Assault and Battery on a Family or Household Member?
Massachusetts law defines Assault and Battery on a Family or Household Member as an assault or assault and battery on a member of your household. For purposes of this law Massachusetts a household or family member as people that
- are married to each other or were married to each other within the five years preceding the date of the alleged offense
- are residing together in the same household or were residing together in the same household within the five years preceding the date of the alleged offense; are related by blood;
- have a child in common; or
- are or have been in a substantive dating or engagement relationship within the five years preceding the date of the alleged offense; provided, however, that in determining that relationship, the court shall consider the following factors:
- the length of time of the relationship;
- the type of relationship;
- the frequency of interaction between the parties; and
- if the relationship has been terminated by either person, the length of time that has elapsed since the termination of the relationship.
After having been previously convicted of assault or assault and battery on a family or household member.
Are there Legal Defenses to Assault and Battery on A Family Member?
Yes there are legal defenses to Assault and Battery on Family Member. Self defense is one of the most common legal defenses. Factors like who was the first and primary aggressor and if the defense was reasonable are considered when considering self defense.
In order to be convicted of Assault and Batter, the prosecutor must prove that there was an intentional and unconsented to touching of another. A potential defense is to show the touching was not intentional and it was accidental.
Another defense to an Assault and Battery on a Family or Household member is to show that the person is not a “family or household member” as defined in the statute.
Because of the enhanced penalty it is defense to raise whether or not there was a prior conviction. At the time the offense occurred the there needs to have already been a prior offense. If there was no prior conviction of this crime the enhanced penalties cannot be added.
Are there Lesser Included Offenses included in Assault and Battery on a Family Member?
Yes there are lesser included crimes included in Assault and Battery on Family Member. Assault. and Assault and Battery are lesser included charges.
What You Need to Do if Charged with Domestic Violence?
If you have been charged with Assault and Battery on a Family or Household member you need to speak with a Massachusetts criminal attorney. An attorney can help you understand the criminal process, the charges and all potential defenses. An attorney can help assess your case and give you advice specific to your case. A domestic violence attorney can negotiate with the prosecutor to help you get the best outcome for your case. A domestic violence attorney can also build the strongest case for you to try before a judge or a jury. All Massachusetts counties treat Domestic Violence very seriously. Some courts even have Domestic Violence sessions or courts entirely dedicated to domestic violence cases. Prosecutor that handle domestic violence cases usually receive specialized training and fight each charged very hard.
Massachusetts Domestic Violence Attorney.
Attorney Patrick T. Donovan is a former prosecutor who has represented many people against domestic violence charges. Attorney Donovan uses his experience as a prosecutor to get the best possible outcome for each of his clients. If you or someone you know has been charged with Assault and Battery on Family or Household Member call today.
Call the Law Office of Patrick T. Donovan today for your free initial consultation at 1 (617) 479- 1800.
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