Your Trusted Massachusetts Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer
Facing a domestic violence charge is stressful. It is a very serious matter that should always be handled with the highest level of care, sensitivity, and professionalism. There is no doubt that domestic violence remains a serious problem in Massachusetts and throughout the country. At the same time, false accusations of domestic violence happen.. It is your constitutional right to always be presumed innocent until proven guilty. Every person has the right to have their day in court.
At Nate Amendola Defense, our Massachusetts domestic violence defense lawyers have the professional expertise that you can rely on. We are here to be your first call and your last call when facing criminal charges. No matter the nature of the charges or the specific allegations, our legal team is more than ready to help. To arrange a completely confidential, no obligation consultation with a top Massachusetts domestic violence defense attorney, please contact us today.
It’s not too late
What Is Domestic Violence in Massachusetts?
To start, it is important to understand what domestic violence actually is in Massachusetts. Though domestic violence is a term frequently used in common parlance, 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 the breakdown:
- A person you are or have been married to;
- A person with whom you have at least one child in common; or
- 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)
In other words, you could be charged with domestic violence if you are accused of committing assault and battery and you have a qualifying relationship to the victim. In most cases, domestic violence charges in Massachusetts involve allegations that the accused committed an offense against a person with whom they have or had some form of intimate relationship.
Understanding Assault and Battery in the Context of Domestic Violence
Beyond proving a qualifying relationship, prosecutors bringing domestic violence charges in Massachusetts must also establish that the alleged offender committed assault and battery. 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; and
- The touching was likely to cause bodily harm or was offensive and nonconsensual.
Of course, the burden of proof in any criminal case rests on the state. At trial, the prosecution has an obligation to present evidence that proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was guilty of all of the required elements of the domestic violence charge.
What Are the Criminal Penalties for Domestic Violence in Massachusetts?
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. Replace it with something like: “Every case is different so it is important to speak with a skilled criminal defense attorney to talk specifically about your case” . 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.) If you are facing a domestic violence charge—especially if it is a second offense or if there are allegations that a dangerous weapon was used—you need to consult with a Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. A a conviction and the penalties can be life-altering.
Other Issues That Come With a Domestic Violence Conviction
It might seem as though there cannot 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. Indeed, domestic violence convictions often carry a wide range of other adverse consequences beyond the direct criminal penalties. There are personal, professional, and family issues that must be considered. Some other consequences of a domestic violence conviction in Massachusetts may include:
- 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.
Domestic Violence Charges in Massachusetts: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Should I Give a Statement to Police After a Domestic Violence Accusation and/or Arrest?
The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects your right to remain silent. You are never required to give a statement when facing criminal allegations, including an accusation of domestic violence. You should seriously consider exercise this right. If you want to give a statement to the police, consult with a Massachusetts defense lawyer beforehand. You should have an attorney by your side.
What is a Protective Order in a Domestic Violence Case in Massachusetts?
In Massachusetts, a protective order, also known as a restraining order, is a legal document issued by a judge to protect a person who has been abused or threatened with abuse by a family or household member. The purpose of a protective order is to order the abuser to stay away from the victim, stop all contact, and refrain from committing further acts of abuse or violence. Violation of a protective order in a domestic violence case is a serious criminal offense in Massachusetts.
Should I Take a Plea Agreement in a Domestic Violence Case?
The answer depends on a wide array of case-specific factors, including the charges, the evidence, your family situation, and more. A plea bargain may be asensible defense strategy in some certain circumstances. It could lead to reduced penalties, potentially including no jail time. At the same time, it is not the right option for every situation. A Massachusetts domestic violence defense lawyer can help you determine the best path forward.
You Need The Top Domestic Violence 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 qualified 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.
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 for you.
Have You Been Arrested For Assault or Domestic Violence in Massachusetts?
At Nate Amendola Defense, our Massachusetts domestic violence defense lawyers are standing by, ready to protect your rights, your freedom, and your future. If you have been arrested and charged with any type of domestic violence offense, we are here to help. You can contact us online or call our office directly at 781-740-0800 to schedule your consultation with one of our top-notch defense lawyers. From our Norwell office, we handle domestic violence charges throughout Massachusetts.