According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men in the country have experienced some sort of domestic violence. Domestic violence is a criminal act, and as such, has legal consequences. If you were a victim of domestic violence or have been accused of committing such a crime, the following information on domestic violence cases in Massachusetts may help.
What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence comes in many different forms including physical, emotional, or sexual abuse. Economic control and neglect are also considered as domestic violence. Common acts include assault and battery, witness intimidation, or violating a restraining order.
What Prompts Arrests for Domestic Violence?
It all typically begins with a call to law enforcement. Officers responding to an incident may make an arrest if he/she believes there is probable cause that an act of domestic violence has taken place. The officer will arrest the person believed to be the primary aggressor. In cases where someone has violated a restraining order, an arrest is mandatory.
Role of Victims in Domestic Violence Cases in Massachusetts
Prosecutors are responsible for pursuing or dropping domestic violence cases in MA. Victims do not need to press charges for a case to move forward. In fact, in some cases, victims may choose not to even testify. Since domestic violence falls under public safety, it is the prosecutor’s decision to act in the best interests of the public. A judge must also approve motions to dismiss such cases.
Victims’ Legal Rights
Victims of domestic violence have certain legal recourses available. First, victims may apply for address confidentiality protection (ACP). This allows them to use a PO box in place of a physical address in order to prevent defendants from knowing their current home address. Secondly, victims can apply for a restraining order. Victims may also file a civil suit for monetary damages for medical bills or pain and suffering. Lastly, child custody and support arrangements may be disputed.
Legal Representation for Domestic Violence Cases in MA
The circumstances surrounding domestic violence cases are not always so clear cut. For example, there may be more than one aggressor, or claims may be unfounded (i.e. perpetuated by a disgruntled ex). Every domestic violence case in MA is unique.
If you are accused of committing domestic violence, it is important to you retain legal representation for your case. Having a criminal attorney on your side ensures that you know your rights and have the resources and knowledge to properly defend yourself in a court of law. For a free consultation on your domestic violence case in MA, please call 617-448-1174.