In Massachusetts, domestic violence or domestic abuse is against the law. A person who attempts, threatens, or inflicts physical harm on a family or household member can be charged with domestic violence. Initiating involuntary sexual activity with family or members of the household also falls under this offense.
The Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 209A, Section 1 states that a person suspected of the threat of violence can be charged with domestic assault. Battery, meanwhile, is a charge brought against someone who has the intention to injure or cause harm.
Who is protected by this law
Spouses, partners who live together, individuals related by blood or marriage, romantic partners who are dating or have dated, and individuals who have children together are protected. Furthermore, Chapter 209A states that defying a protective order is also a violation of this law.
Massachusetts police officers can make an arrest on the grounds of assault and battery even if there was no physical harm. They can also do this even if the aggrieved person doesn’t want to press charges. A person arrested for domestic violence should contact a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. This charge has grave consequences for the person charged.
Penalties for a domestic violence charge
Domestic assault and battery charges vary in severity. Ultimately, the consequences will depend on each case’s circumstances and the situation of the people involved. Some people don’t think they need legal representation for a domestic violence charge. Their reasoning is that people receive probation in most cases; however, even first-time offenders can face jail time.
Assault and battery are misdemeanors under Massachusetts law. This means that people convicted of it face up to 30 months in prison in addition to a $1,000 fine. Probation is a possibility for some people, but this depends upon the facts of the case. The defendant will also be required to participate in an anger management program.
Extenuating circumstances in domestic violence
Violence against pregnant women, gravely injured people, those who have a protective order, or the elderly are grounds for escalating the charges to aggravated assault and battery. These are no longer misdemeanors. Rather, they are felonies, and convicted persons face up to five years in prison for these charges.
Furthermore, the presence of weapons in the act can push the charge further up to assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. This can lead to a 15-year prison sentence.
Beyond the imprisonment, though, a conviction like this has social effects that can spread through a community. An ex-convict will have a hard time getting employment and repairing interpersonal relationships. It can be very difficult bouncing back from a felony conviction, so if you find yourself charged with domestic assault or battery you need good legal representation.
The need for an experienced lawyer
A case involving domestic violence can be difficult for inexperienced lawyers. These types of cases require a seasoned criminal lawyer because the facts can be difficult to establish. Sometimes, it can be a matter of ‘he said, she said.’ A person charged with assault or battery might have been defending themselves, for example.
There is also a possibility that the other party is attempting to portray guilt or gain an advantage. Furthermore, a charge of this kind impacts not just the convict but their family as well. A person may be prevented from seeing their children with a conviction of domestic violence.
The right representation can get a person accused of assault and battery out of a conviction. A good defense attorney will make recommendations based on a person’s unique situation, and aim to present the best options for them before and during the trial.
For expert legal advice in domestic violence cases, get in touch with us today at The Fernandez Firm for a free consultation with the best criminal defense lawyer in Boston!