The state of Massachusetts has both assault and assault and battery crimes established by law. These are separate crimes that are charged as misdemeanors but can be charged as felonies when causing serious injuries or committed against certain classes of people. Because of the violent nature of these crimes, they are aggressively prosecuted in criminal courts.
If you or someone you know has been charged with an assault offense, putting a competent criminal defense lawyer on the case should be your first action. You can turn to Harrison Barrow, Attorney at Law, P.C. for professional representation backed by more than a decade of experience. Our attorney is a proven trial lawyer who will fight for your rights, advise you through the legal process, explain your options, prepare your case for trial, and negotiate with prosecutors for reduced charges only when that is your best course of action.
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You have committed assault in Massachusetts if you attempt to use force or you show your intention to use force against someone else. This means that you do not have to actually cause injury or even make any type of physical contact with the person to be charged with assault. Throwing a rock at someone, even if it misses the person, could be viewed as an assault.
“Assault and battery” differs from simple “assault.” It means you made actual physical contact with the person that likely will cause harm or was done without the person’s consent. Punching someone is assault and battery, even if the punch did not cause any injury.
Both assault and assault and battery crimes are charged as misdemeanors, punishable by up to two and a half years in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.
These penalties are increased under certain circumstances, such as the following:
- A dangerous weapon was used to commit the offense
- The incident involved the violation of a restraining order
- The alleged offender had prior convictions
- The incident was committed against a protected or vulnerable victim
- The incident resulted in bodily injury or serious or substantial bodily injury
Protected and vulnerable victims include minors under the age of 14, the elderly, the disabled, pregnant women, family or household members (domestic violence), or public servants, such as police officers, first responders, and the like.
Bodily injury is anything that puts a person’s health or welfare in danger. Serious or substantial bodily injury is more serious in that it puts the person at risk for death, permanent disfigurement, or the loss or dysfunction of some part of the body.
In many instances, you can be charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the facts surrounding your case. Felony assault cases can carry prison sentences of up to 20 years. Because of the wide range of potential charges and penalties, it is important to seek the guidance of our attorney who can assess where you are and how to help you obtain a desirable result.