Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

The Consequences of an Assault and Battery Charge


A person can be charged with assault when he or she puts a fear of harm in another person. A person commits battery when he or she makes unwelcomed physical contact with another individual that results in harm or injury. Assault and battery is a result of putting the fear of harm in another person and making the physical contact that results in harm or injury.

Domestic assault (domestic assault and battery) is an abusive, violent, or threatening word or act imposed by one family member to another family member. A domestic relationship in most states include an immediate family member or loved one, as well as any other person you might room with or have a relationship. This may include:

  • Wife or husband

  • Parent or step-parent

  • Children or step-children

  • Blended family members

  • Roommate or ex-roommate

  • Grandparents or grandchildren

  • Uncle or aunt

  • Siblings (brother or sister)

According to Massachusetts law, an assault or an assault and battery are punishable up to two and a half years behind bars with fines of up to $1,000. The penalties can be up to five years in prison with fines up to $5,000 when the victim is pregnant, experienced serious bodily harm or injury.  If a protection order was established during the time of the assault, the penalties can be up to five years in prison with fines up to $5,000. The penalties for assaults can increase, if the victims are children, a senior citizen, mentally disabled, a police officer, an EMS staffer or a public worker.

Recently, Massachusetts domestic violence laws have gotten more strict for those arrested for domestic assault in the commonwealth. A new legislation in Massachusetts establishes a domestic violence assault and battery charge for first offenders and it creates a domestic violence offender registry for individuals charged. A person who is arrested on a domestic violence charge must stay in jail for six hours before an arraignment and bail from jail can be granted. Often in domestic violence cases, law enforcement can make an immediate arrest when a victim calls the police and alleges an assault has taken place. Police officers have a duty to take immediate action and maintain safety for the victim and other individuals in the home. In most states, when a domestic violence arrest is made, an emergency protective order is put in place until the offender goes before a judge. The individual arrested cannot have any contact with the victim. A person facing a domestic violence assault and battery charge should seek legal counsel.

Often individuals believe if a spouse decides they do not wish to press assault charges, the prosecution will end. In Massachusetts, this does not always happen. The District Attorney's office can continue the case even against the wishes of the victim and if she renounces her testimony. The District Attorney's office determines the outcome.

If you are accused of an assault crime or facing a domestic violence charge, the consequences may be serious and life-changing. Boston Criminal Defense Attorney, Edward Molari can provide you with legal advice that can help your case. He can explain your options and provide personalized legal services in your assault and battery case. Contact Attorney, Edward Molari at 617-942-1532 for a free consultation.