Indecent assault and battery is a serious charge in Massachusetts. Indecent assault and battery is considered a sex crime. Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 265 Section 13H governs the law of indecent assault and battery of a person aged 14 or older. If you have been charged with this offense, the Commonwealth would have to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that:
1. The alleged victim was at least fourteen years old or older;
2. The you intentionally touched the alleged victim without legal justification or excuse;
3. That the touching was “indecent”;
4. The alleged victim did not consent.
As used here, the term indecent means “fundamentally offensive to contemporary standards of decency. Courts have generally accepted this to mean any body part considered to be “private,” i.e., breasts, buttocks or genital area. However, there are no specifically defined areas and it is open to interpretation so long as a reasonable person would consider the contact to be offensive or immoral.
Are There Any Defenses to Indecent Assault and Battery?
Potential defenses to this charge include debating the issue of consent or that the touching was an accident. For example, if you are standing on a crowded train and accidentally touch someone when the train stops short, you can argue that you did not intend to touch them at all. The issue of consent, however can prove to be more difficult, especially in cases in which alcohol is involved. In such situations, the Commonwealth may present evidence that the alleged victim was so impaired at the time, that you knew or should have known that he or she could not have reasonably consented.
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What are the Penalties for Indecent Assault and Battery in Massachusetts?
If you are convicted of indecent assault and battery on a person aged fourteen or older, you are facing harsh punishments of up to 5 years in a state prison or 2 and a half years in a house of corrections for a first offense. You will also have to register for a sex offender. These consequences are severe so it is crucial you speak with an experienced defense attorney right away.
Massachusetts Indecent Assault and Battery Attorney