Assault on a Family or Household Member is considered domestic violence in Massachusetts. Massachusetts General Law c 265 section 13m defines assault on a family or household member. Assault on a Family or Household Member is a misdemeanor crime punishable by not more than 2.5 years in jail. A subsequent conviction of assault on a household member is a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison. Anybody who is convicted or receives a CWOF (Continuation Without a Finding) must also complete a certified batterers program unless the judge writes specifically why the defendant is excused.
There are two way an assault charge may be proven. Assault is either an attempted battery or an immediate threatened battery. Battery is the unconsented to touching of another, like punching or slapping.
To find someone guilty of assault using the attempted battery theory the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person was intending to batter the victim. There must be an overt act and the person must have close to actually committing a battery. Whether or not the victim was actually in fear does not need to be proven.
Imminent Threatened Battery
In cases where the prosecutor believes that an assault occurred because the defendant threatened a battery three things must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
- First, the defendant intended to put the victim in fear
- Second engaged in some conduced aimed at the victim
- Third the victim reasonably thought there was an imminent threatened battery.
In order for it to be a domestic violence the prosecutor must prove the defendant and victim were family or household members. Massachusetts law defines family or household members as a married couple, a couple that has a child in common, or have been in substantive dating relationship.
Massachusetts Criminal Attorney
Domestic violence cases are treated very serious in courts in Massachusetts. Attorney Patrick Donovan, a Massachusetts criminal attorney, has successfully defended many domestic violence charges in Quincy, Boston and throughout Massachusetts. Attorney Donovan is a former prosecutor who uses that experience to get the best possible outcome for each of his clients. Attorney Donovan believes in taking a client first approach to all criminal defense cases.