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Violent crime charges in Massachusetts: FAQs

An accusation for commission of a violent crime is serious. Whether you yourself are accused of this type of crime or have a loved one going through the process, it is common to have a lot of questions and go through a range of emotions including fear and confusion. This piece will serve to help address this by diving into some of the more common charges and potential penalties as well as touching on the importance of a defense.

Potential penalties for common violent crimes

The term violent crime can cover a number of different criminal charges. The most severe of which is generally murder but even misuse of a vehicle can result in allegations of a violent crime. Massachusetts state law allows for up to two and a half years of imprisonment and a $1,000 fine for those who race cars at a high rate of speed.

Another common charge is assault. If the prosecution can build a strong case and get a conviction for assault or assault and battery, they can push for the court to sentence the accused for up to two and a half years imprisonment or a fine of $1,000. If the prosecution can establish that the assault or assault and battery charge led to serious bodily harm, was against a pregnant individual and the alleged assailant was aware of the pregnancy or involved someone who had a restraining order out against the alleged assailant, the court can sentence the accused to up to five years in jail or two and half years in a house of correction and a fine of up to $5,000. A conviction for assault or assault and battery on a family or household member can come with up to two and a half years and a $5,000 penalty

State law categorizes murder, often the most serious charge, into different degrees. Murder in the second degree can come with life imprisonment and the potential for parole while first degree also leads to life imprisonment but without the potential for parole.

These penalties are serious and are just the beginning. Additional charges or the presence of a criminal record can lead to an increase in penalties. As a result, it is important to take the allegations of a violation seriously and fight back.

Potential defenses

The law requires the prosecution follow certain rules to build their case and there are consequences for a failure to follow these rules. If, for example, the state’s legal team failed to follow protocol when gathering evidence that evidence may not be admissible in court. It is important for those who face accusations of a violent crime to review the procedure used to gather evidence and ensure the prosecution followed these rules. If not, it is important to challenge the use of that evidence in court. Unfortunately, these things are not automatic — those who face accusations must fight to make sure the other side is following the rules.

This is just one example of a potential defense strategy in these types of cases. An attorney experienced in this niche area of criminal law in Massachusetts can review your case and further discuss this and other options, tailoring a defense to your specific situation and better ensuring a favorable result.


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