ASSAULT CRIMES

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Hinman Law Blog

Assault Crimes

Assault/Assault with a Dangerous Weapon

The crime of Assault is governed by Massachusetts General Laws Ch. 265, Section 13A, and is defined as attempting to use force against another person or demonstrating the intent to use immediate force against another person. You can be charged with assault even if you do not actually come into contact or cause injury to another person. The prosecution only needs to prove that the alleged victim was in fear of bodily harm. For example, swinging at someone and missing would be considered assault. Assault, without the use of a weapon, is a misdemeanor, and carries a penalty of up to 2.5 years in jail, and/or a fine of up to $1000. However, if a dangerous weapon is used during the assault, the crime becomes a felony and the penalty is up to 5 years in state prison. A dangerous weapon is considered any weapon that is likely to inflict bodily harm or death. This can include traditional weapons, such as a knife, but can also include objects that might not normally be considered dangerous unless they are used a certain way, such as a boot, a chair, or a hammer.

Assault and Battery

Assault and Battery is defined in Massachusetts as the deliberate touching of another person without that person’s consent, or in a way that is likely to cause bodily harm. Assault and Battery can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony, based upon the severity of the offense, and at the discretion of the prosecution. For example, hitting another person is considered Assault and Battery. Assault and Battery on its own carries a potential jail sentence of 2.5 years, and/or a fine of $1000. However, there are many possible enhancements that make the penalty more severe. If the victim is pregnant or if you are in violation of a restraining order, you will be facing up to 5 years in state prison. The penalties for Assault and Battery are also more severe if the victim is disabled, elderly, or a public employee/police officer.

Assault and Battery Causing Serious Bodily Injury

If you are charged with Assault and Battery, and the alleged victim has suffered a serious bodily injury, the penalties are increased. Serious bodily injury is considered any injury that results in permanent disfigurement, loss or impairment of a bodily function, limb, or organ, or a substantial risk of death. If convicted of this crime, the punishment is up to 5 years in state prison.

Assault and Battery with a Dangerous Weapon

Assault and Battery with a dangerous weapon is a serious felony that carries up to 10 years in prison if prosecuted in Superior Court. Even if your case is not indicted, you are still facing up to 2.5 years in jail. In order to be convicted of this crime, the government must show that you committed Assault and Battery— the unwanted touching of another person, or the touching of another person in a way that is likely to cause harm—and that you did so with a dangerous weapon. A dangerous weapon can be any object with the potential to cause bodily injury if used in a certain way. For example, a stabbing would be considered an Assault and Battery with a Dangerous Weapon, but so would kicking someone while wearing a boot. There are various enhanced penalties under the statute. For example, if the victim is pregnant, elderly, or under the age of 14, or sustains a serious bodily injury, the penalty could be as high as 15 years in state prison.

Assault with Intent to Rob or Kill

In order to be convicted of this crime, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed an assault while armed with a dangerous weapon, and that you did so with the specific intent to rob or kill the alleged victim. Specific intent means that you formed in your mind the determination, no matter how brief, to rob or kill the alleged victim. This is a felony that carries up to a 20-year prison sentence. If armed with a firearm, shotgun, machine gun, or assault weapon, there is a minimum sentence of 5 years in state prison, and a maximum sentence of 20 years.

Assault with Intent to Murder

Assault with Intent to Murder involves the same elements as Assault with Intent to Kill, except to be convicted of Assault with Intent to Murder, a jury must find that you acted with malice. Malice, in this case, is defined as a killing in the “absence of justification, excuse, or mitigation.” Mitigating factors include heat of passion induced by sudden combat, reasonable provocation— any fear, anger, or passion that would impede the ability to exercise reflection or restraint. This crime also carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, with a minimum sentence of 5 years if you were armed with a firearm, shotgun, machine gun, or assault weapon during the commission of the assault.

If you have been charged with a violent crime or Assault crime in Wellesley, Natick, Needham, Framingham, Quincy, Cambridge, Sudbury, Wayland, Newton, Boston, Billerica, Dedham, or anywhere in Suffolk, Middlesex, or Norfolk County, contact Attorney Hinman at 617-283-4480, or by using the form to the left.