An Assault under Massachusetts General Laws, chapter 265, section 13A, provides for the commission of an assault in two different ways. An assault is either an attempted battery or an immediately threatened battery. Under the first way – an attempted battery – the Commonwealth must prove that the Defendant intended to commit a battery (harmful or impermissible touching), took some overt step towards accomplishing that intent and came reasonably close to doing so. It is not necessary that the victim, under this form of assault, be placed in fear. This means if the defendant took a coffee mug and threw it towards the victim, but missed, the Commonwealth would proceed under this faction of assault. If charged under the premise of an immediately threatened battery, then fear is an element of the crime. The prosecution must show that the defendant intended to put the victim in fear of an imminent battery, took steps towards that end and put the victim in fear of a battery.
Assault and Battery
Criminal Attorney Bonavita located in Newburyport, Massachusetts has successfully handled cased involving all forms of assault and assault & battery. In Massachusetts, assault generally constitutes a threat of violence, while battery refers to the unlawful physical contact of another person without his or her consent. No actual physical harm has to occur for an assault & battery charge to be filed—the alleged threat followed by a merely intended action, such as throwing an object at someone or attempting to push him or her—can be enough for police officers to make an arrest. The severity of any injuries inflicted on the victim or whether any weapons were involved are factors in determining whether an assault & battery charge will be considered a misdemeanor crime or a felony crime. Special circumstances, such as whether a minor or elderly person was involved or the alleged incident involved domestic violence, can also be factors in determining the charges and punishment of a person who is convicted of assault & battery. However, not all incidents involving the threat of violence and unwanted physical contact are unjustified nor do they constitute the crime of assault & battery. A person accused of assault & battery may have acted in self-defense, in defense of others, or to prevent a crime from being committed.
Assault and Battery, Dangerous Weapon
The crime of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon is governed by Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 265 Section 15A. In order for someone to be convicted of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, the Commonwealth must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:
- The individual committed an assault and battery
- The individual committed the assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon
The term dangerous weapon has not been defined by the Legislature, but the courts have further interpreted its meaning. The basic definition is a weapon, controlled by the batterer, that is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury. Some weapons are inherently dangerous such as gun. Other weapons, although not typically considered dangerous, can be classified as a dangerous weapon because of how they are used by the individual committing the assault and battery. A hammer could be considered a dangerous weapon or even something that seems innocent, like a coffee cup, depending on how it is used. An individual who is convicted of committing an assault and battery with a dangerous weapon can be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for up to 10 years or imprisonment in the house of correction for up to 2.5 years and/or a fine of up to $5,000.00. Under certain circumstances, the punishment may be increased to imprisonment in the state prison for up to 15 years or in the house of correction for up to 2.5 years and by a fine of up to $10,000.00. The punishment escalates when one of the following four additional things occur:
- The individual caused serious bodily injury to the victim
- The individual committed the assault and battery against a victim who the individual knew or had reason to know was pregnant at the time of the incident
- The individual committed the assault and battery against a victim who the individual knew had a restraining order against him or her at the time of the assault and battery
- The individual was 17 years of age or older and committed the assault and battery against a victim who was under the age of 14 at the time of the incident
Another circumstance that results in an increased punishment occurs when an individual commits an assault and battery with a dangerous weapon against a victim who is 60 years of age or older for the second time. For this second offense, the individual will be subject to punishment of up to 10 years in state prison, up to 2.5 years in jail or a fine of up to $1,000.00. There is also a minimum mandatory sentence of at least 2 years in jail for a second offense.
Assault and Battery, Serious Bodily Injury
Assault and Battery, Serious Bodily Injury, pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws, chapter 265, section 13A, is described as an unlawful and intentional or reckless touching of the person of another, without consent which results in serious bodily injury to the victim. A bodily injury is defined as “serious” if it results in a permanent disfigurement, a loss or impairment of a bodily function, limb or organ or a substantial risk of death. While it is not a specific requirment that the defendant’s touching be the direct cause of the serious bodily injury, the prosecution must show, at a minimum, that the defendant’s touching directly and substantially set in motion a chain of events that produced the serious injury in a natural and continous sequence.
If you are facing charges for Assualt in Newburyport, Salem, Boston, Amesbury, Salisbury, Lawrence, Ipswich, or any town in the Essex, Suffolk, or Middlesex counties in Massachusetts, call Criminal Attorney Bonavita immediately at 978-376-6746 or email her with your case information!