Massachusetts Domestic Assault Court Process

For those who have been charged with and convicted of domestic assault charges in Massachusetts, the consequences can be very serious. Indeed, a person could potentially face jail or prison time, large fines, and other penalties—including losing custody of children in some cases. If you are charged with domestic assault, our experienced attorney is here to help you understand the process and how to defend yourself. 

Defining Domestic Assault and Battery in Massachusetts

Massachusetts laws concerning domestic assault are found in Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 265, Section 13M. The crime is defined as committing “an assault or assault and battery” on a family or household member.” Assault typically refers to the threat of violence, whereas battery is the actual act of violence. 

The Court Process for an Assault and Battery Case

If you are charged with assault and battery, it’s important that you understand the court process. Typically, the process involves:

  • Arraignment. The first time you appear in court is for your arraignment hearing. This is when the charges against you will formally be read and you will have the opportunity to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. 
  • Dangerousness hearing. Following the arraignment, there will be a dangerousness hearing. During this time, the court will review evidence to determine whether you pose a threat to society. If so, you may be held until your trial date. 
  • Pretrial conference. In many cases, it is possible to resolve your case without a trial, which is often ideal. This may be an opportunity for you to strike a plea bargain with the prosecution, or for the charges against you to even be dismissed entirely. 
  • Motion hearing. A motion hearing may be part of the process in some cases. During a motion hearing, your attorney will make legal arguments for your benefit to the court. For example, if appropriate and germane, your attorney may argue that the evidence in the case was collected in violation of your rights and should be suppressed. 
  • Trial. Finally, the last step is the trial itself. If your case goes to trial, both sides have the opportunity to submit evidence. The prosecution has the burden of proving the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. 

Potential Penalties of a Conviction

The penalties that you may face if convicted will depend on various factors, including the degree of harm done to the victim and the presence of any aggravating factors, such as committing the crime against an elderly person or a pregnant person. For assault and battery against a family member, penalties could include imprisonment for up to 2.5 years, a fine of up to $5,000, or both. 

How an Experienced Domestic Assault and Battery Defense Attorney Can Help

If you’re facing criminal charges, it’s important to consult with an attorney to get the legal counsel that you need to protect your best interests. To learn more, contact The Law Offices of Paul R. Moraski today. You can reach our Massachusetts criminal defense attorney today at  (978) 397-0011, or schedule a consultation online.