Domestic Assault and Battery is the crime of threatening a family or household member (assault), together with the act of making physical contact with him/her (battery).
In order to prove that the Defendant is guilty of having committed a Domestic Assault & Battery, the prosecutor must prove 4 things beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The Defendant touched the alleged victim, however slightly, without having any right or excuse for doing so,
- The Defendant intended to touch the alleged victim,
- The touching was either likely to cause bodily harm to the alleged victim or was done without his/her consent, and
- The Defendant and the alleged victim are or were married to one another, are or were residing together in the same household, are or were related by blood or marriage, have a child in common (regardless of whether they have ever married or lived together), or are or have been in a substantive dating or engagement relationship.
Domestic Assault and Battery Penalties
The maximum penalty for a Domestic Assault and Battery is 2 ½ years in a county house of correction (HOC) or a fine of $1,000.
If you are found guilty of Domestic Assault and Battery, you may be required to attend a certified batterer’s program for perpetrators of domestic violence. These courses typically last for 40 weeks, and you have to prove to the probation officer that you have completed the program. If you fail to attend the course, then the court can reinstate any jail sentence that may have been imposed and suspended, or if you have been sentenced to straight probation, then the maximum penalty. These courses help you to understand your violent behavior, the reasons for it and how to resolve the problem and not repeat it. If your problem is caused by drugs and/or alcohol, you may also be required to refrain from the use of illegal drugs and alcohol, submit to random testing, as well as attend treatment programs for substance abuse.
Causes of Domestic Assault and Battery
When we hear about a case of domestic violence, we tend to think that it is women who are on the receiving end of the Assault and Battery. While women do indeed bear the brunt of domestic violence, it can also be perpetrated against children, elderly relatives and male partners. Domestic violence is often a way one partner will seek to control another.
There are many warning signs of domestic violence. However, these signs can easily be missed if you do not know what to look for. Beware of jealousy, constant calls, being checked-up on, or your partner searching your phone, personal papers or mail. Does your partner try to isolate you or blame you for things that have gone wrong in his/her life? Domestic Assault and Battery may also be accompanied by constant threats of violence both towards you and other family members, including pets.
If you or anyone you know is a victim of such violence, don’t delay from seeking help and support immediately.
And, if you have been charged, assume responsibility for your actions, seek the help of a therapist, and of course, hire the best Massachusetts criminal lawyer possible.