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A battery is an intentional touching that is harmful or offensive. That OR is important. It can be any slight touching if it meets these criteria, even if it doesn’t hurt them. Or even something that is consented to, but harmful, such as an agreed-to fistfight, would be a battery. Both people in that situation could be charged with assault and battery, even though the other one agreed to it! An assault is an attempted or immediately threatened battery. By this definition, all battery automatically includes an assault, so it is charged as assault and battery (“A&B”). But an assault may not involve an actual battery, so it is just charged as assault.

Are There Different Levels Or Classifications?

Massachusetts law doesn’t provide “levels” of assault or A&B exactly, but it provides many, many different enhancements of A&B or assault, depending on the characteristics of the victim and what is done to them and why. The most common is assault or A&B with a dangerous weapon. This does not need to be a weapon like a knife or gun. It can be any object used in a dangerous way. Kicking someone with your shoes on may qualify (although the case prosecutors rely on as an excuse to bring this charge doesn’t quite say what they think it says about shoes, so it’s a weaker charge than they think). Other common enhancements are for assault or A&B on a household member, on a child under 14, or on an elderly or pregnant victim, assault or A&B with intent to commit a felony such as rape or robbery, or A&B causing serious injury. Additionally, some of these enhancements can be combined together for charges even more serious than the individual enhancements by themselves.

Please Define Assault Against Certain Victims Or For Certain Purposes?

Massachusetts law gives several types of victims special status that makes an assault or A&B on them worse than on other victims. Assault or A&B on children under 14, pregnant women, people protected by an abuse prevention order against the person committing the assault, public employees, family or household members of the perpetrator, and people over 60 or disabled carry harsher penalties than the same crime committed against someone else. Assault with intent to commit any felony is treated more harshly than assault without such intent, and if the intended felony is robbery, rape, or murder, the consequences are even worse.

How Does The ‘Degree Of Injury’ A Victim Suffers Affect An Assault Charge?

For some victims, A&B with any bodily injury is a more serious charge than A&B without bodily injury. For all A&Bs, serious bodily injury is an enhancement over the standard offense, and for some special victim categories even more so.

Does A Victim Have To Be Injured For An Assault To Have Occurred?


What Penalties/Sentencing Is There For Assault Convictions?

It depends on the seriousness of the offense. The maximum sentence for a simple A&B is 2 ½ years in the House of Correction, and there is no mandatory minimum. Armed assault in a dwelling has a sentence ranging from 10 years to life.

For more information on Assault & Battery Charges In Massachusetts, an initial case evaluation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (617) 718-5550 today.

Patrick Long Law Firm, PC.

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(617) 297-7502

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