Domestic violence is a serious charge—and so it only makes sense that a person who is convicted of the crime would face serious consequences.
A look at the consequences will make it clear that you absolutely must hire a skilled defense attorney to represent you if you are arrested for domestic violence in the state of Massachusetts.
What Is Domestic Violence in Massachusetts?
Though domestic violence is a term frequently used, the crime is officially called assault and battery on a family or household member. That begs the question: Who is considered a family or household member under Massachusetts law? Here’s the breakdown:
- A person you are or have been married to
- A person with whom you have at least one child in common
- A person with whom you are or have been in a substantive dating relationship (the judge has wide latitude for instructing the jury how to apply this standard)
A person is guilty of assault and battery on a family or household member if:
- The alleged victim is a family or household member as defined above.
- The alleged offender touched the alleged victim without right or reason.
- The alleged offender intended to touch the alleged victim.
- The touching was likely to cause bodily harm or was offensive and nonconsensual.
What Are the Criminal Penalties for Domestic Violence in Massachusetts?
In Massachusetts, you can be charged with any of four levels of domestic assault and battery:
- Simple assault and battery (misdemeanor)
- Assault and battery (misdemeanor)
- Aggravated assault and battery (felony)
- Assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon (felony)
As we have noted, the penalties upon conviction are significant:
- First offense. Up to two and half years in the house of correction, a fine of up to $5,000, or both
- Second and subsequent offenses. Up to five years in state prison
- First offense of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon. Up to 10 years in the state prison if tried in superior court
All those convicted of assault and battery on a family or household member must complete a certified batterer’s intervention program at their own personal expense. (This can cost $3,500 or more.)
Other Issues That Come With a Domestic Violence Conviction
It might seem as though there can’t be much worse than the criminal penalties that result from a conviction for domestic violence, but the fact of the matter is that such a conviction can have a serious impact on a variety of areas of your life. For example:
- Your reputation. A domestic violence conviction will taint your personal reputation for a long time—possibly permanently. The damage to your reputation may very well play out in multiple areas of your life.
- Your relationships. You may find that friends and even family members are less eager to spend time with you after a domestic violence conviction. You may be seen as dangerous or a bad influence. It can be very difficult to overcome this damage to your close relationships because it will be hard for the people in your life to forget what happened.
- Custody arrangements. Judges have an interest in making sure custody decisions are in the best interest of the child or children involved. A domestic violence conviction will likely count against you in a judge’s calculations—potentially costing you custody. After all, no one wants children exposed to potential violence at home.
- No-contact orders. You may be restricted from having any contact of any kind with the victim of domestic abuse. This, of course, can mean the end of a relationship that has been very important to you—and figures into custody questions as well.
- Your career. It may be significantly more difficult to get a new job if you have a domestic violence conviction on your record. Many employers will be leery of anyone with a violent past. While they may not be able to reject your application outright, they are less likely to give you serious consideration against similarly or better-qualified individuals.
- Your right to own a firearm. Massachusetts law allows for the curtailment of your right to own a gun if you have been convicted of a domestic violence offense. While many might see this as an infringement of a basic right, the state has an interest in keeping guns out of the hands of individuals who have been convicted of a violent offense.
You Need a Skilled Defense Attorney Immediately
Given the seriousness of the charges and the consequences of conviction, it is essential to hire a defense attorney immediately if you are arrested for a domestic violence offense. A delay can weaken your overall defense and put you in serious jeopardy of a bad outcome to your case.
You need a skilled attorney who will focus on you, listen carefully to your side of the story, and fully investigate the incident that led to your arrest. Putting together a solid and effective defense will be the first priority—and getting started on that effort as soon as possible is an important component of success.
Contact Nate Amendola to Guarantee a Vigorous Defense
Some attorneys might just see you as another client. But that’s not the case at Nate Amendola Defense. We are committed to seeing each person as an individual—and finding the best defense or other solution for each and every person we work with. We don’t go to court to bolster our win-loss record. We go to court to work as hard as we can on your behalf.
If you have been arrested on a domestic violence charge, the time to hire an attorney is right now. Get started by scheduling your free initial case review. At Nate Amendola Defense, we are ready and able to go to work for you. We serve those in Plymouth, Norfolk, Bristol, Barnstable, and Nantucket Counties.