Domestic Violence related crimes are among the most frequently charged category of crimes in Massachusetts’ courts. Recently, Massachusetts has passed sweeping legislation in this area. On August 8, 2014 legislation called an Act Relative to Domestic Violence was enacted. This legislation has forever changed the landscape of Domestic Violence Laws in Massachusetts and in a short time period.
Domestic Assault and Battery on a Family or Household Member
One of the serious changes made to the Domestic Violence Laws was to create a new crime of Domestic Assault and Battery on a Family or Household Member. Massachusetts General Law ch.265 sec. 13M provides “[w]hoever is convicted of a second or subsequent offense of assault or assault and battery on a family or household member shall be punished by imprisonment in the house of correction for not more than 2 1/2 years or by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 5 years. For the purposes of this section, ″family or household member″ shall be limited to persons who: (a) are married to each other or were married to each other within the 5 years preceding the date of the alleged offense; (b) are residing together in the same household or were residing together in the same household within the 5 years preceding the date of the alleged offense; (c) are related by blood; (d) have a child in common; or (e) are or have been in a substantive dating or engagement relationship within the 5 years preceding the date of the alleged offense; provided, however, that in determining that relationship, the court shall consider the following factors: (1) the length of time of the relationship; (2) the type of relationship; (3) the frequency of interaction between the parties; and (4) if the relationship has been terminated by either person, the length of time that has elapsed since the termination of the relationship.”
What this means to you is that if you are charged with Assault and Battery on a Family or Household Member in Massachusetts that the state’s criminal prosecutor would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the following things:
1) That you touched another person with no right or excuse for doing so,
2) That you intended to touch the other person,
3) That the touching was either likely to cause bodily harm to the other person or was done without their consent, and
4) That the other person was a family or Household Member.
Criminal Offense-Strangulation or Suffocation
Another Serious Felony Charge that has recently been created is the Crime of Strangulation or Suffocation. This charge has become a recent favorite charge of prosecutors. Prosecutors want to look tough on Domestic Violence and this Charge with its potential 5 year state prison sentence allows them to do just that. Additionally, a subsequent offense of Strangulation can result in a maximum potential sentence of 10 years.
If you find yourself charged with Domestic Violence, engage a criminal defense attorney early. With years of experience handling these matters call for the experience you need and deserve. Call Today for a free consultation.
David Newton, Esq.