Domestic violence can have serious consequences. Because the terms assault and battery are often used when describing domestic violence, it’s helpful to understand their general meaning and the penalties that a court can impose under Massachusetts law.
An assault is generally defined as attempting to use physical force against a person or intentionally putting another person in fear of physical harm.
Assault and battery occur when a person intentionally makes contact with another person without his or her consent and it is likely to cause the person physical harm.
Penalties for domestic violence
Massachusetts law specifically addresses this in the context of domestic violence. If a person commits an assault or an assault and battery on a family or household member, he or she can be imprisoned for up to two and a half years, the court can impose a fine of up to $5,000 or both for a first offense, with increasing penalties for a second offense.
A family or household member is defined as people who are or were married to each other, have a child in common regardless of whether they lived together or were married, or are in a dating relationship of some length.
In addition to imprisonment and fines, the court can also order the offender to complete an intervention program.
While domestic violence is often physical, it can also include verbal abuse, intimidation, control, threats and isolation. There are options to address these types of domestic violence under the law as well.
An experienced attorney can provide advice about how to resolve each individual’s situation. This can be a very important first step for victims take in order to protect themselves and other family members from this unacceptable type of harm.