What are Assault & Battery Offenses?
Assault & Battery refers to the unlawful touching of another person. In order to convicted of committing an intentional assault and battery, the Commonwealth must prove three things beyond a reasonable doubt:
- That the defendant touched the person of [the alleged victim];
- That the defendant intended to touch [the alleged victim]; and
- That the touching was either likely to cause bodily harm to [the alleged victim], or was offensive.
There are also various aggravating factors that may subject a person to harsher penalties, such as Assault & Battery causing serious bodily injury, Assault & Battery on an elderly or disabled person, Assault & Battery on a pregnant woman, Assault & Battery on a police officer, Assault & Battery on a child under 14 causing injury.
In addition, a person may be convicted of simple Assault, where there is no physical contact with the alleged victim. An assault may be committed in either of two ways. It is either an attempted battery or an immediately threatened battery. A battery is a harmful or an unpermitted touching of another person. So an assault can be either an attempt to use some degree of physical force on another person — for example, by throwing a punch at someone — or it can be a demonstration of an apparent intent to use immediate force on another person — for example, by coming at someone with fists flying. The defendant may be convicted of assault if the Commonwealth proves either form of assault.
Bail/Release Conditions for those Facing Assault & Battery Charges
If you have been arrested for an Assault & Battery offense, the Commonwealth may request bail or may move for a 58A or “dangerousness” hearing to hold you without bail. This is likely to happen if you have a prior record of convictions for assaultive charges, or if there are aggravating circumstances such as the alleged victim is pregnant, elderly or required serious medical attention. Ashley knows which factors are important to prove at these hearings in order for clients to keep their liberty while preparing for trial.
M.G.L. Chapter 265, Section 13M
It is a crime to commit an assault and battery on a member of a person’s own family or household. To convict a defendant of this offense, the Commonwealth must prove each element beyond a reasonable doubt:
- the victim and the defendant were “family or household members”;
- the defendant touched the body of the alleged victim, without having legal justification or excuse;
- the defendant intended to touch the body of the victim; and
- the defendant’s touching of the victim was either likely to cause bodily harm to the victim, or was done without the victim’s consent.
Under the law, two persons are “family or household members” if the alleged victim and the defendant:
- are or were married to each other;
- have a child in common; and/or
- are or have been in a “substantive dating relationship.”
To determine whether the parties were in a “substantive dating relationship,” a jury may consider (1) the length of time of the relationship; (2) the type of relationship; (3) the frequency of interaction between the defendant and the alleged victim; and (4) the length of time that has elapsed since the termination of the relationship. Notably, the alleged victim and the defendant’s relationship may qualify as a “substantive dating relationship” under the law, even if the relationship was not exclusive.
If the alleged victim was pregnant at the time of the alleged incident, the defendant may be charged with assault and battery on a pregnant victim, G.L. c. 265, § 13A(b)(ii), and may be subject to harsher penalties.
If you have been charged with an Assault & Battery offense, call McCormack Law today to protect your rights.