Dangerous Weapon and Assault & Battery Felony in Massachusetts
An assault and battery by a dangerous weapon is the unjustified use of force, however slight, against another by using a weapon. Or, and assault and battery by a dangerous weapon is the reckless use of a weapon that caused injury to another.
Type 1: An Intentional and Unjustifiable Touch of Another Person
The first type of assault and battery by a dangerous weapon occurs when the defendant intended to commit a battery by using a dangerous weapon.
To be found guilty of this form of assault, the Commonwealth must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant:
1. Touched the alleged victim (touching is any physical contact, however slight);
2. Intended to touch the alleged victim (that it was not merely accidental or negligent); and
3. The touching was done with a dangerous weapon.
A classic example of this would be if someone intentionally swung a golf club at someone and that golf club contacted the person. Another classic example of this is the so-called “shod foot.” In this example, a person stomps on a victim’s hand and fingers with a shoe-covered foot. A touching may be direct as when a person strikes another, or it may be indirect as when a person sets in motion some force or instrumentality that strikes another. In cases of assault and battery by dangerous weapon, the Commonwealth is not required to prove that the defendant specifically intended to cause injury to the alleged victim.
Type 2: Reckless Assault and Battery by Means of Dangerous Weapon
The second type of assault and battery by dangerous weapon occurs when the defendant committed a reckless act causing physical injury to another.
To prove this type of assault and battery by dangerous weapon, the Commonwealth must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant:
1. Engaged in actions that caused bodily injury to the alleged victim;
2. That the bodily injury was done with a dangerous weapon; and
3. That the defendant’s actions amounted to reckless conduct.
In this type of assault and battery by dangerous weapon, the Commonwealth must prove that the bodily injury was so serious that it interfered with the alleged victim’s health or comfort and that the dangerous weapon caused the bodily injury.
Can I Be Arrested For an Assault By Dangerous Weapon?
Yes, because assault and battery by dangerous weapon is a felony, officers may conduct a warrantless arrest if there is probable cause to determine that a crime has been committed.
What is a dangerous weapon?
There are two types of dangerous weapons: (1) things which by their nature cause serious injury or death or (2) things that when used in a certain way can cause serious injury or death.
- Things that are automatically considered dangerous (category 1) are, for example, firearms, knives, and brass knuckles.
- Things that are considered “dangerous use” (category 2) are generally items that become weapons when used in a dangerous way. A plate, lit cigarette, or even a stapler can be considered a dangerous weapon in the right context.
Am I going to jail for assault and battery by dangerous weapon?
Assault and battery by dangerous weapon is a felony and carries potential jail time. The maximum penalty for a conviction is State Prison not more than 10 years or House of Correction not more than 2.5 years; or a fine not more than $5,000. Aggravated assault and battery by dangerous weapon carried a sentence in state prison of not more than 15 years of House of Correction of not more than 2.5 years; and/or a fine of not more than $10,000.00. Assault and battery by dangerous weapon becomes “aggravated” if the defendant:
- 18 and over and commits an assault and battery by dangerous weapon on a child under 14; or
- Causes serious bodily injury to a victim. Serious bodily injury means bodily injury that results in a permanent disfigurement, loss of impairment of a bodily function, limb or organ, or a substantial risk of death; or
- Commits assault and battery by dangerous weapon against a person who he knows, or has reason to know is pregnant; or
- Commits assault and battery against a person who has an outstanding restraining order in effect against the defendant at the time of the attack