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Understanding domestic violence charges in Massachusetts

On Behalf of | Jul 4, 2024 | Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is a serious issue that can have devastating consequences for victims and their families. Massachusetts has strict laws in place to protect individuals from domestic violence, and understanding these laws is crucial if you or someone you know has been affected.

Here’s what you should know about the different types of domestic violence charges in Massachusetts, potential penalties and the restraining order process.

Types of domestic violence charges

Domestic violence charges in Massachusetts typically fall under the umbrella of assault and battery, but the specific circumstances can determine the severity of the offense. Here are some common charges:

  • Assault and battery: This is the most common domestic violence charge and encompasses a wide range of physical acts, including hitting, pushing or shoving. The severity of the charge depends on the extent of the injuries inflicted.
  • Strangulation or suffocation: This is a serious felony offense in Massachusetts, recognizing the potential for long-term health consequences or even death. Any attempt to restrict someone’s breathing can result in this charge.
  • Stalking: Repeatedly harassing, threatening or following someone can lead to stalking charges. This can involve unwanted phone calls, texts, showing up uninvited or online harassment.

Whether you are proven guilty or not, these charges can seriously impact your life and livelihood.

Potential penalties for domestic violence

The penalties for domestic violence charges in Massachusetts vary depending on the specific offense and the offender’s criminal history. However, the consequences can be significant and include:

  • Jail time: Domestic violence convictions can result in jail time, ranging from a few days to several years. Repeat offenders face harsher sentences.
  • Fines: Financial penalties can be imposed alongside jail time, adding to the burden on the offender.
  • Loss of gun rights: Domestic violence convictions typically lead to a loss of the right to own or possess firearms.
  • Restraining orders: Courts can issue restraining orders to protect the victim from further contact or threats. Violating a restraining order is a criminal offense.

These penalties can put a substantial strain on you and your family. It is important to seek the support you need to build a strong defense against the charges.

The restraining order process

A restraining order is a civil court order that prohibits the abuser from contacting or coming near the victim. To obtain a restraining order, the victim must file a petition with the court detailing the abuse and requesting protection. A hearing will be held where both parties can present their cases.

Domestic violence is a complex issue, but understanding the legal landscape in Massachusetts can help you seek the defense you need to move forward.