Assault and Battery is a misdemeanor in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts but is also considered a “crime of violence.”
To prove the crime of assault and battery, the Commonwealth must show that there was:
- no consent for offensive touching of another person and
- that the touching was intentional and without justification
There need NOT be any type of injury to prove an assault and battery, but cases that do have injury are also considered to be assault and battery. The maximum sentence for assault and battery is 2 and 1/2 years in jail.
I have represented hundreds of clients charged with assault and battery and have used every type of defense available to do so. The defenses to and/or justifications for assault and battery include:
- defense of others
- accident/mistake (non-intentional)
- defense of property
The assault and battery cases I have dealt with run the entire spectrum of types of assault and battery that exist. Oftentimes, a bar fight starts with two mutual combatants squaring off with each other. Then, when the loser gets upset, he files a complaint and the other combatant is charged.
Self-defense is the defense used in these cases and I have NEVER lost one of these at trial. I have represented people who have been charged with assault and battery for spitting on someone (yes, technically, that is assault and battery).
- My most interesting assault and battery case involved my 65-year-old female client charged with assault and battery on a person 65 or older (that enhances the penalties by including minimum mandatory jail time). The 66-year-old named victim was trying to get into the my client’s room because the 70-year-old man they were fighting over was in there. My client pushed her out of the doorway, closed the door and knocked the alleged victim over. We used self-defense and defense of another as our defenses and the jury found my client NOT GUILTY.
- Recently, my client was charged with assault with intent to murder after someone struck an individual in the head with a baseball bat and that individual died, after an argument. I filed a motion to dismiss the case based on a very shady identification process in which my client was identified as being involved. The case was dismissed.
Assault and Battery By Means of a Dangerous Weapon
This is a felony in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
To prove this charge, the Commonwealth must prove the same elements as assault and battery but must also prove the additional element that an assault and battery was committed with a “dangerous weapon.”
The spectrum of “dangerous weapons” is vast and may include:
- things that are “inherently dangerous” like a gun or a knife
- anything that can, essentially, be turned into a dangerous weapon. For example:
- a pen, designed to be used for writing, can be used as a dangerous weapon
- a lit cigarette can be used to burn someone and, therefore, could be deemed a dangerous weapon
A conviction of the felony, assault by means of a dangerous weapon, carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in state prison.
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