Aggravated assault is a statutory offense under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 265, Section 13A, and is a felony with serious penalties and consequences if convicted. There are 5 elements to this offense:
- You committed an unlawful touching of another person
- You intended to touch or to make physical contact with that person
- The touching or contact was offensive or harmful
- The contact or touching caused:
- serious bodily injury—loss or impairment of a limb or bodily function, or nearly caused death or did cause permanent disfigurement
- the victim was pregnant and you knew she was pregnant
- or, the assault occurred while you knew that a protective or restraining order was in place against you
- The touching or contact was not justified or excused in a legal way
Each element of this, or any other criminal offense, must be proven by the prosecution by the standard of beyond a reasonable doubt.
What is Serious Bodily Injury?
Whether you are charged with simple or aggravated assault depends on the severity of the harm inflicted. Even if the victim was hospitalized as a result of the assault, this does not necessarily rise to an aggravated level. Neither does a showing of injury, pain and suffering associated with the contact. It may take a medical opinion to demonstrate that the injury sustained was substantial enough to cause a limb or bodily function to be impaired. For example, the victim suffered loss of vision or hearing or can no longer walk without assistance or use an arm or hand in a material fashion. Cognitive changes due to a traumatic brain injury would qualify as serious bodily injury.
Other examples are:
- Injuries put the victim into a coma
- Person was close to death through loss of blood or damage to bodily organs
- Victim lost a limb, foot or hand,
- Victim lost an organ such as a kidney
Penalties for Boston Aggravated Assault
The following are penalties for aggravated assault and if there are aggravating circumstances that will enhance the penalties:
- If convicted, you face up to 5-years in state prison or, alternatively, 2.5 years in a house of corrections and a fine of up to $5,000.
- If the assault was on a pregnant woman whom you knew was pregnant, you face up to 5-years in state prison and a fine of no more than $5000.
- Aggravated assault on a person whom you knew or had reason to know had an intellectual disability carries 5-years in state prison.
- If the victim was a child under the age of 14, you face a maximum of 15-years in state prison.
- Aggravated assault on a disabled or person 60-years of age or older carries up to 10-years in prison and a fine up to $5,000.
Defenses to aggravated assault include:
- Self-defense—if you were initially attacked or had a reasonable fear of imminent physical assault, then you may plead this an affirmative defense. You must not have used unreasonable force or more than was necessary to repel the attack, such as using a firearm to shoot the attacker if that person was not armed with a deadly weapon.
- Defense of others—you can protect a family member or anyone else who was attacked or in imminent peril of serious bodily injury in the same manner as self-defense
- Defense of property—this is associated with an assailant or intruder in your home. You can use reasonable force on the intruder so long as you had a reasonable belief the intruder was about to cause you or anyone else lawfully in your home serious bodily injury, and you only used enough force, or that which is equal to the force used by the assailant, to repel the attack or defend yourself or others.
- If a restraining order was violated, you had no actual knowledge of its existence because it was not served or not properly served
- No permanent disfigurement was sustained by the victim
- The victim’s injuries were not substantial or resulted in permanent impairment
- You had no knowledge the victim was pregnant or had reason to know of her condition
Contact Boston aggravated assault lawyer Paul Moraski at (978) 397-0011 if you face serious assault charges. In many of these cases, we are able to get charges reduced to simple assault and a sentence of probation or are able to convince a prosecutor to dismiss all charges. Call us today for a free consultation about your criminal matter.