What Happens After a Domestic Violence Charge in MA?

The state of Massachusetts takes allegations of domestic abuse very seriously. If you have been accused of domestic violence in our state, it’s important that you understand what your rights are and how the case will proceed. To represent you during the process, call an experienced domestic violence criminal defense attorney. In the meantime, here’s what you should know after being accused of or charged with domestic violence in our state — 

You’ll Be Arrested if There’s Probable Cause

The first thing that you should know about domestic violence is that if the police respond to a domestic violence call and there is probable cause that you have committed the act of domestic violence, you will be arrested. This is because of mandatory arrest rules in Massachusetts, making domestic violence crimes different from other misdemeanor assault crimes in our state.

Charges Will Be Filed Against You

Just because you are arrested doesn’t mean that you are guilty or that you don’t have the right to defend yourself. After you’re arrested, official charges for domestic violence — officially referred to as assault and battery on a household member under Massachusetts law — will be brought against you. You will have the option to plead guilty or not guilty.

It is also likely that a 209A Protective Order, also known as a restraining order, will be filed against you. You will need to carefully follow the provisions of this order to reduce your risk of further charges and penalties being brought against you. 

Defending Yourself Against Domestic Violence Charges

You will have the opportunity to defend yourself against domestic violence charges. Potential defenses include:

  • Actual innocence/not being the person involved in the case/saying that the abuse never happened (i.e. the victim is lying);
  • Acting in self-defense;
  • Causing injuries and harm to the victim accidentally; 
  • Not enough evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt; 
  • Investigative errors were committed during the case that violate your Constitutional rights, and therefore evidence can’t be used against you. 

Penalties If You’re Convicted of Domestic Violence

If you are convicted of domestic violence, you should know what penalties you may face. The specific penalties will vary depending on the specifics of your case and the degree of injury sustained by the victim. You may be granted probation in lieu of imprisonment; if not, you may have to serve time in jail or prison. In addition to time behind bars, a fine will also be assessed against you. You may also be required to attend an anger management program. 

Get Help from an Experienced Massachusetts Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with domestic violence in Massachusetts, you need a criminal defense attorney on your side. At The Law Office of Paul R. Moraski, our skilled lawyer is ready to represent you. Attorney Paul Moraski has years of experience and a record of success. You can call our law firm directly at (978) 397-0011 or send us a message at your convenience. We offer free consultations.