In a big city or a small town, fights can break out anywhere. The influence of alcohol and stressful or crowded situations can increase the likelihood that tensions will flare. You may even find yourself in the middle of a brawl, without having done anything to start the fight. Or, you may even be faced with the need to defend yourself after someone else brings you into the an altercation.
These situations may result in being charged with assault or assault and battery. Charges of assault and battery are serious offenses, and can be treated as a felony with long jail sentences. If you've been arrested or charged with assault and battery in Boston, MA, contact Dhar Law LLP today at 617-391-0592 to speak with our lawyers today.
What is Assault and Battery?
Assault and battery fall under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 265, for Crimes Against the Person. "Assault" and "Assault and Battery" are actually treated as different crimes in Massachusetts, with the possibility of additional aggravating factors, depending on the victim and the specifics of the case.
What is the Difference?
Assault : Generally, there does not need to be any physical contact in order to constitute simple assault. The simple act of intending to cause a person reasonable apprehension of imminent harm or offensive contact is enough to be considered assault. Assault can also be considered as an attempted battery.
Battery : Battery, or Assault and Battery includes a physical action that results in harmful or offensive contact. For the crime of battery, a person has to intend to cause a person harmful or offensive contact, and that harmful or offensive contact actually occurs. Essentially, when an "assault" is followed by actual contact, it becomes "assault and battery."
What Kind of Contact is Considered Battery?
Both offensive and harmful contact can be considered battery. This would include physical contact like punching, hitting, stabbing or throwing an object at someone, even if no actual injury occurs. Additional, offensive contact including touching someone against their will, or spitting on someone could be considered battery.
What are the Penalties?
The penalties for assault or assault and battery may depend on the specific facts surrounding the individual case, and whether there were any aggravating factors.
Under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 265, Section 13A, the penalties for committing an assault or an assault and battery include fines of up to $1,000 and up to 2 and a half years in prison.
In addition, assault and battery can be treated as a civil crime. The person assaulted can sue the perpetrator in court to seek damages for the harm done to the patient.
What are Aggravating Factors for Assault and Battery?
Some factors could result in additional penalties, this includes when:
- the assault or battery results in serious bodily injury;
- the assault or battery is upon a victim who is pregnant at the time, and they have reason to know the person is pregnant; or
- the assault or battery is against someone who has a restraining or no contact order against them at the time of the assault or battery.
Within these situations, the penalties can increase to jail time of up to 5 years, and fines of up to $5,000. "Serious bodily injury" would include permanent disfigurement, loss or impairment of a bodily function, limb or organ, or a substantial risk of death. See Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 265, Section 13A.
What are Other Specific Charges?
Other charges involving assault and battery include:
- Assault and battery with a dangerous weapon;
- indecent assault and battery;
- assault to cause intimidation; or
- assault and battery upon a child.
Penalties for these offenses can include up to 10 years in prison, with additional fines, probation, training, or other restrictions.
What are Some Possible Defenses?
Some defenses may include self defense, defense of another, or defense of property. Depending on the facts of the case, a reasonable act in defense of oneself or another may be a defense to assault charges. In some cases, a defense would be reasonable use of force against someone in defending the people in their home.
If you are charged with assault or assault and battery, you may not know how to respond. You may believe that there was no real harm done, or that you were harmed just as much as the person claiming assault. It can take a qualified criminal defense lawyer to help you make the difficult decisions ahead. An experienced attorney focused in criminal defense will be able to clarify the individual issues facing a client, identify the elements of the case, and defend their client in court.
Contact Dhar Law LLP in Boston today at 617-391-0592 to speak with our attorneys today.