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“Assault” and “assault and battery” are two separate and distinct offenses in Massachusetts. These are considered to be crimes of violence and thus they are punished accordingly. They are generally charged as misdemeanors unless they caused serious injuries or were committed against certain protected individuals, such as police officers. When arrested for such a crime, you should immediately bring in a competent criminal defense lawyer to ensure that your rights are protected, that you are treated fairly throughout the legal process, and that you have the best possible defense.
At Attorney Andrew H. P. Norton, you can work with a Bridgewater, MA assault and battery attorney who has been in practice since 1989. Attorney Norton brings a wealth of knowledge and experience with the local criminal justice system that can only work to your advantage. He will ensure that your case is thoroughly investigated to uncover the facts and circumstances that will work in your favor and weaken the prosecutor’s assertions. Our firm is committed to providing you with the competent and supportive representation you need in fighting to preserve your reputation, freedom, and future.
Assault & Battery in Massachusetts
Assault in Massachusetts consists of either an attempt to use physical force against someone or showing your intention to do so. These actions do not necessarily have to end up in making physical contact with the other person. For example, throwing a rock at your neighbor without hitting him is an assault as is raising a club against the person even if you do not use it to strike the person.
Assault and battery differs in that it consists of making physical contact with the alleged victim, even if it is only touching them. However, it must be done in a way that is likely to cause physical harm, done deliberately, and without the consent of the other person. Punching, kicking, or shoving someone is a crime of assault and battery even if it does not result in an injury.
These crimes are charged as misdemeanors unless they involve certain aggravating factors, such as:
- Causing physical injury or serious physical injury
- Violating a restraining order
- Using a dangerous weapon
- Being committed while having previous convictions
- Being committed against certain protected individuals
- Being committed to further a felony
Physical injury refers to any type of injury that endangers the person’s health or well-being, It could be as minor as a bruise or something more harmful, such as an internal injury. A serious physical injury puts the person at risk of death, results in disfigurement, or impairs any body part. Breaking someone’s arm or leg could be considered in this category.
Committing assault and battery against protected persons can also lead to heavier penalties. These people can include minors, the elderly, the disabled, pregnant persons, or public servants, such as police, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, and others.
In cases involving these aggravating circumstances, you may face felony as opposed to misdemeanor charges.
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Misdemeanor assault and battery convictions carry jail time of two and a half years while felony assault and battery convictions may result in three up to 15 years, depending on the circumstances. In some of these convictions, you may face mandatory minimum time in jail as well as maximum sentences.