The statutory penalties for assault and battery are the same whether the alleged victim is your longtime spouse or a total stranger. However, domestic assault charges are unique in a number of ways. Massachusetts recently passed a new law that makes it easier for judges to hold domestic violence defendants without bail. There is also now a state database that includes the name of every person charged with domestic violence in Massachusetts.
If you have been arrested for domestic violence, Attorney Chris Spring will work to get your case dismissed. If the Commonwealth does press charges — with or without the victim’s consent — Attorney Spring will aggressively defend your rights from the arraignment through the jury trial.
Domestic assault is an assault against a spouse or live-in partner, a boyfriend or girlfriend, a sibling, a parent or another member of the household. Simple assault is conduct that puts someone in fear of bodily harm, such as a verbal threat or a menacing gesture. Assault and battery is actual physical contact. In the context of domestic violence, this could be punching or kicking, a slap or a shove, or grabbing someone by the arm.
Assault and battery is punishable by up to 2 1/2 years in the House of Correction. If the victim was pregnant, elderly, or suffered a serious injury, the charges may be enhanced to aggravated assault and battery, which carries a sentence of up to five years in state prison. Attorney Spring recognizes that any jail time is a hardship and that a domestic violence conviction has collateral consequences involving child custody, employment, and education.
Attorney Spring is a former Middlesex County assistant district attorney who prosecuted hundreds of domestic violence cases while serving in the District Attorney’s Office. Since founding Spring & Spring, he has successfully defended hundreds of individuals charged with violating the domestic violence laws. The following information may be relevant to your case:
Any alleged victim of domestic violence (plaintiff) can go to court and ask a judge to issue a restraining order against the alleged abuser (defendant). Ordinarily, a 10-day restraining order is issued by the court, which typically forbids the defendant from having any contact with the alleged victim or the children. The defendant will be notified of the temporary order and given a hearing date within the 10 days to determine if the abuse prevention order should be continued for one year. Attorney Spring has extensive experience in representing defendants at these hearings to argue against imposition of the permanent order.
Violation of an abuse prevention order is a serious crime, punishable by up to 2 1/2 years in jail. The penalties are enhanced if the order was violated in conjunction with an allegation of stalking. The law exists to protect victims from further abuse, but sometimes the plaintiff seeks the order not for protection, but for revenge against the defendant or for an advantage in family court proceedings.
In Massachusetts, there are a few different types of restraining orders. You may encounter one or more types if you are involved in a domestic violence dispute. Your spouse or someone else in your household can seek legal protection from the courts with three types of protection measures:
An experienced attorney can defend you in a case involving any type of abuse prevention order. This includes a temporary or permanent order. Speak to an attorney as soon as possible after discovering that someone in your family or household plans to pursue a restraining order against you. An attorney can help you fight the order and protect your legal rights.
It is important to hire a lawyer if someone is attempting to bring a restraining order against you, as this can affect many of your rights and freedoms. You may have trouble crossing the border and traveling, for example, as well as finding a job or housing with a restraining order on your record. At Spring & Spring, we can represent you if you wish to defend yourself against a criminal restraining order.
Our attorneys can argue against the need for a restraining order in a domestic violence or abuse case if the order has been sought out of revenge or for a frivolous reason. We can appear at the restraining order hearing on your behalf. If you are accused of violating an abuse prevention order, our lawyers can also help. We can prepare a defense that aims to protect you from the most serious penalties associated with restraining order violations.
In many cases, a plaintiff in Massachusetts will seek a temporary restraining order in a domestic violence or abuse case. As the defendant named on the order, this will immediately restrict your contact with the petitioner, as well as take away child custody or visitation. A hearing to pursue a permanent restraining order will usually follow.
Take the following steps to protect your legal rights from the very beginning of your restraining order defense case:
A restraining order attorney in Middlesex County will have the experience and knowledge of the law to help you refute domestic violence accusations and present evidence to support your side of a restraining order hearing. The right lawyer will know the judges and court systems in your area. Being familiar with the sensitivities of the judge presiding over your case can increase your chances of a favorable outcome.
Attorney Spring understands the very serious consequences that result from a conviction involving domestic violence. Contact Attorney Spring today to arrange a free, confidential consultation to discuss the facts of your case. Chris Spring will travel to your home to meet with you.