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Domestic Violence


Domestic violence is a crime in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Domestic violence can occur in all sorts of situations, but generally involves family members or individuals who were once romantically involved. These types of cases can involve very intense and conflicting feelings between people that quickly erupts into threats of violence.

Domestic violence occurs when someone causes physical harm, attempted physical harm, creates fear of imminent physical harm, or engages in unwanted sexual contact with family or household members. Domestic violence does not always require actual violent action.

Other actions can be considered abuse as defined by state law, which includes:

(a) Attempting to cause or causing physical harm;
(b) Placing another in fear of imminent serious physical harm;
(c) Causing another to engage involuntarily in sexual relations by force, threat, or duress.

Family and household members include more than just immediate family or those who live under one roof:

(a) are or were married to one another; are or were residing together in the same household;
(b) are or were related by blood or marriage;
(c) have a child together (whether they ever lived together or not);
(d) or are or have been in a substantive dating or engagement relationship.

This broad definition could include a spouse, domestic partner, former spouse or domestic partner, current or ex-boyfriend or girlfriend, father, mother, cousin, and even a former roommate.

At Dhar Law, LLP, we provide strong legal defense for domestic violence matters. Call our lawyers today at 617 880-6155 for a free consultation.


Massachusetts has a policy regarding mandatory arrest when it comes to domestic violence. If a police officer determines they have probable cause to believe that someone has abused a household or family member, then the police officer is required to make an arrest. Even if someone called the police but later changed their mind and no longer wants to press any charges, the police are still required to make an arrest if they believe domestic violence has occurred.

Domestic violence covers a wide variety of suspected crimes or violations including assault, battery, stalking, sexual assault, emotional or verbal abuse, child abuse, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or dating violence. Depending on the crime and any past criminal record, the charge could be a misdemeanor or a felony. However, even a misdemeanor domestic violence offense will result in an arrest.


A 209A protective order is a civil order that is intended to offer protection from physical abuse, harm, or sexual harm by force or threat of harm from a family or household member. Also known as a restraining order, it is issued by the court to prohibit someone from taking certain actions, including approaching or contacting a specific person. In some cases, a court may issue a mutual protective order to prevent both sides from approaching or contacting each other.


Penalties for domestic violence may depend upon the underlying abuse or assault, or violation of a 209A protective order:

  • Assault and battery – Domestic assault and battery may result in fines up to $1,000 and up to 2.5 years in prison. In some situations, the jail time may be greater, including if there was serious bodily injury, if there was a restraining order, or if the victim was pregnant and there was reason to know the victim was pregnant. In these cases, the penalties can increase to imprisonment of up to 5 years and fines of up to $5,000.
  • Stalking – Stalking can result in up to 5 years in prison and fines of up to $1,000.
  • Violating a 209A restraining order – Violation of an abuse prevention protective order may result in penalties, even if no abuse took place. This can include a sentence of up to 2.5 years in jail and fines of up to $5,000.
  • Additional penalties – In domestic violence cases, the court also has the discretion to issue a number of orders and restrictions. These orders could include an anger management program, substance abuse management, certified batterer intervention program, a restraining or no-contact order, supervised visitation, fees and monetary support, GPS tracking device, and child custody.


If the accuser made false allegations, a defense lawyer can point out inconsistencies in their statements or call other witnesses to corroborate your version of the facts. Another possible defense may include a claim of self-defense or the defense of someone else, such as protecting your children.

If you are charged with domestic violence in Boston, you may not know how to respond. You may believe that there was no harm done or that accuser was really the one responsible for the violence. To be labeled with domestic violence can affect your job opportunities and your standing in the community. A qualified domestic violence defense attorney in Boston can help you navigate the difficult road ahead. We work hard to clarify the individual issues facing our clients, identify the elements of each case, and defend our clients in court.

Call our domestic violence attorneys in Boston today at 617 880-6155 for your free consultation.


Have you or a family member been charged or arrested? It’s important not to make mistakes early on in your case. Download our PDF on the top 3 things to do to help your defense or if you have been arrested by the State Police or FBI or you are the subject of an FBI Arrest Warrant.

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Heading up the firm, Vikas Dhar is widely recognized as a leader in the New England legal community. An accomplished business litigator and a “Top 40 Under 40” criminal defense attorney, he has also been honored as a New England Super Lawyer/Rising Star in the area of White-Collar Criminal Defense for each of the past six years by Boston Magazine.

I have the power and the skill to be able to save people from themselves. I can be your guide during the darkness. I can hold your hand and navigate you out of the darkness into the light.

— Vikas Dhar
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