Domestic Violence Defense Lawyers of Melrose Fighting for Justice for Those Unjustly Accused of Domestic Assault
Most individuals are unaware that law enforcement agencies in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts have what is known as a mandatory arrest policy when handling domestic violence calls. If law enforcement comes to your home and there is evidence of domestic violence or assault, one or both parties will be arrested and charged. It is also important to understand that the alleged victim cannot drop criminal domestic assault charges.
If you have been accused and arrested on a domestic violence charge, you are most likely frightened and extremely apprehensive about your future. Any type of accusation of domestic violence can devastate your life as you can be legally forced to leave your home and not be permitted to have contact with your children. In addition, you will have to deal with the lengthy legal princess involved in defending yourself against domestic violence charges.
The family lawyers of the Martino Law Group, LLC, of Melrose, MA, are fully committed to fighting for your rights and launching an aggressive defense on your behalf. Our goal is to have the criminal charges against you dismissed or significantly dropped so as to obtain an outcome that is fully favorable to you.
What Constitutes Domestic Violence In Massachusetts?
Domestic violence, also known as domestic assault and battery on a family or household member, typically involves the following types of charges where the defendant is alleged to have touched the victim with the following conditions being present:
- The touching was intentional in nature.
- The touching was without the consent of the victim and was offensive or had the probability of causing bodily harm.
- The victim was a family or household member or involved in a domestic relationship with the defendant at the time that the alleged abuse occurred.
Massachusetts law clearly defines a family or household member as two individuals who are married, have a child in common, or have engaged in a significant dating relationship with one another. These relationships also include individuals who identify as LGBTQ.
What are the Penalties for Domestic Violence?
The law that governs domestic violence has recently been altered in Massachusetts, which has caused the terms associated with domestic violence to change. Penalties that are associated with assault and battery committed that involve a family constitute what is commonly known as domestic violence. Because of the close family ties that are involved in domestic violence cases, Massachusetts has enacted strict laws meant to address these issues. They are:
- Any individual who has been charged with domestic assault and battery is required by law to enroll in a batterer’s intervention program.
- Second and subsequent offenses related to domestic assault and battery will be charged as a felony. These charges may carry stiff penalties of up to 5 years in prison.
- The defendant may be held without bail as a result of what is commonly known as “dangerousness hearings.” These hearings have less stringent requirements and tend to favor the alleged victim and the charges they are bringing against the defendant.
- If convicted of domestic assault charges, an individual could face up to two and a half years of incarceration.
Is Domestic Violence a Misdemeanor or a Felony in Massachusetts?
One of the most commonly asked questions by individuals who have been accused of domestic violence is whether assault and battery on a family or household member are considered to be a misdemeanor or a felony.
The potential penalties that you could face for domestic assault are dependent on the facts that surround your particular case, along with the existence of aggravating factors. Assault and battery are considered to be a misdemeanor crime, and if convicted, a defendant could face up to 30 months imprisonment and a $1,000 fine.
However, defendants are often offered probation in lieu of incarceration. For defendants considering probation, the court may require that you successfully complete an anger management course or Certified Batterer’s Program.
A charge of aggravated assault and battery, which is considered to be a felony offense, can be brought forth against a defendant if the victim has been seriously injured, is over 65, is pregnant, or had a no-contact order in place when the alleged abuse occurred. This law also applies if a dangerous weapon is involved in the assault. If convicted of aggravated assault and battery, you could face up to 5 years in state prison.
Are There Any Possible Defenses to Domestic Violence Charges?
When examining the strengths and weaknesses involved in domestic violence cases, one factor in building a strong defense hinges on the credibility and willingness of the witnesses. Some of the possible defenses that could be used in cases of domestic assault and battery:
Self-defense: If your case does proceed, and either the judge or jury finds that you acted in reasonable self-defense, then you will be found not guilty.
False allegations: Often, there is an incentive to lie on the part of the alleged victim. In cases where there is no physical evidence or very little evidence present to substantiate a claim of domestic assault, denying the allegations or claiming that the victim is being untruthful can be highly effective as a defense strategy.
If you have been arrested on domestic assault charges, you need to obtain legal representation immediately. Domestic violence charges can stay on your permanent record and could potentially cause you to lose visitation privileges with your children and even force you from your home.
Contact the Martino Law Group, LLC of Melrose, MA, by calling (781) 531-8673 and ask to schedule a free consultation with a highly experienced domestic violence defense attorney. We will be happy to listen to your side of the story and review your case. We are passionately committed to obtaining a resolution that is highly in your favor. We look forward to serving you.