Accused of Domestic Violence?
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Accused of Domestic Violence?
Defining Domestic Assault and Battery
In the state of Massachusetts, it is illegal to physically harm, attempt to physically harm, inflict fear of imminent serious physical harm, or initiate involuntary sexual relations with family or household members. These actions are defined as domestic violence or domestic abuse, and they encompass the concepts of domestic assault (threat of violence) and battery (physical contact with intent to injure or cause harm).
Individuals covered by this protection include spouses, those who are (or were) living together, those who are related (by blood or marriage), romantic partners who are dating (or have dated), and those who have children together. It is also against the law to violate an order of protection. This is all covered in Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 209A, Section 1.
It is important to note that Massachusetts police officers are able to arrest individuals for assault and battery even if no physical harm was caused, and even if the other party does not wish to press charges. If you have been arrested, be sure to contact an attorney as soon as you are able. Many people do not recognize the severity of domestic violence charges until it is too late.
What is the Penalty for Domestic Violence?
The punishment for domestic assault and battery depends on each individual’s unique situation and the facts of the case. Many people falsely believe that they do not require legal representation for a domestic violence charge, as they assume they will receive probation. This could not be further from the truth – even first-time offenders face jail time. Assault and battery is considered a misdemeanor, meaning that those who are convicted face up to 30 months in prison and a fine of $1,000. Some defendants may be eligible for probation, which often requires participation in an anger management program, but this is wholly dependent upon the facts of the case and the defendant’s personal history.
If the victim is pregnant, seriously injured, elderly, or in possession of an order of protection, charges escalate to aggravated assault and battery. These charges are much more severe and are considered felonies, meaning that those who are convicted face up to five years imprisonment.
If weapons are involved, charges filed are instead modified to assault and battery with a dangerous weapon; those convicted may serve up to 15 years in prison.
There are also far-reaching social effects of a domestic violence conviction. For example, the news of your conviction may spread through your community, impacting your status or reputation. This could result in difficulty finding gainful employment or repairing interpersonal relationships. It is vital that those who stand accused of domestic violence equip themselves with the best possible legal representation.
Why You Need Experienced Domestic Violence Defense
As one of the most commonly filed charges in the state of Massachusetts, it benefits all individuals to know the details surrounding domestic violence. This accusation is murky and requires an experienced defense for several reasons:
- Situations often escalate and fingers are pointed
- An individual had no choice but to defend themselves
- The other person is lying or attempting to portray guilt to gain a personal advantage
- Domestic violence charges carry significant punishment and impact families
- False or exaggerated claims mar your criminal record
- The other person may seek a restraining order, keeping you from your children
While the penalties associated with a domestic violence conviction are severe, the burden of proof is remarkably low. This means that with the appropriate representation, those accused of assault and battery may be able to avoid a conviction. Skilled Boston defense attorneys assess the facts of the situation and make recommendations that shape your case.
Every domestic violence incident is completely unique, requiring a structured defense crafted by someone with years of experience. At Coughlin Law Group, our team of former prosecutors has successfully defended against countless accusations of domestic violence. Contact us today for a free consultation.