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Assault and Battery on a Family or Household Member

Assault and Battery on a Family or Household Member

Domestic Violence Charges Defense Attorneys

Assault and battery charges are always serious, but when the allegations include family members or dating partners, the stakes are even higher.  The charges are the same, except for the extra element that the victim must be a family member, or a dating partner.  Police, prosecutors, and judges take a particularly harsh stance against domestic violence charges.  We sometimes tell clients that they’d have been better off punching a stranger in the face than stand accused of assaulting a family member.  To make matters worse, once you’re charged with assault and battery on a family or household member, your name is entered into a domestic violence database.  The only way to remove your name is a dismissal or not guilty verdict after trial.

Getting Assault and Battery on a Family or Household Member Charges Dismissed

We have a lot of experience getting assault and battery on a family or household member charges dismissed. Given the resources used by the police and prosecutors to put you in jail, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect your freedom and reputation.  If you’re charged with assault and battery on a family or household member, we can help.

Call us today at (781) 797-0555 for a free phone consultation to get started.

Can the Victim Just Dismiss the Case?

Once the police are involved, the cases don’t get dismissed easily.  Many times the charge of assault and battery on a family or household member come after a heated argument where one person calls the police in hopes of calming down a situation, only to discover that they have inadvertently made things a whole lot worse.  When cooler heads prevail, the “victim” wife or girlfriend might call the district attorney’s office and ask them to drop the charges.  They often call me, surprised that the prosecutor won’t listen to their pleas to dismiss the case.  Once the charges are levied, it is the Commonwealth of Massachusetts versus the person being charged, and the victim has little to no say in whether the prosecution continues.  That’s where a highly experienced and successful criminal defense attorney can help.

Definition & Penalties

The statute states that whoever,“Whoever commits an assault or assault and battery on a family or household member shall be punished by imprisonment in the house of correction for not more than 2½ years or by a fine of not more than $5,000, or both such fine and imprisonment.”

“Whoever is convicted of a second or subsequent offense of assault or assault and battery on a family or household member shall be punished by imprisonment…in the state prison for not more than 5 years.”

In addition, anyone who is convicted or pleads guilty to assault and battery on a family or household member will also be forced to complete a certified batterer’s intervention program.

A “Family or Household Member” means people who:

  • Are or were married to one another;
  • Have a child in common; or
  • Are or have been in a substantive dating relationship.

For the third element, the judge will instruct the jury that they can consider the length of time of the relationship; the type of relationship; the frequency of interaction between the parties; whether the relationship was terminated by either person; and the length of time elapsed since the termination of the relationship.

Elements of Assault and Battery on a Family or Household Member

To convict you of assault and battery on a family or household member, the prosecutor must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • That you touched the alleged victim without having any right or excuse for doing so;
  • That you intended to touch the alleged victim;
  • That the touching was eitherlikely to cause bodily harm to the alleged victim, orwas offensive and was done without her consent; and
  • That you and the alleged victim were family or household members.

How to Defend Against Assault and Battery on a Family or Household Member Charges

Defenses to assault and battery on a family or household member charges depend on the specific circumstances of your case.  Whatever the defense is, though, it better be good: the law presumes that a person convicted of this crime will be sentenced to jail (see G.L. 265, sec 41).  Don’t risk a conviction alone.  Get an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side now.

If you or a loved one is accused of Assault and Battery on a Family or Household Member, call us today at (781) 797-0555 for a free confidential phone consultation.

Sources:

Mass. General Laws Chapter 265, Sec. 13M

Jury Instructions – A&B on Family or Household Member

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