Protect Your Rights Against a Domestic Violence Prosecution
Under Massachusetts law, it is unlawful for a person to commit a domestic violence act, which includes physical harm, attempted physical harm, inducing fear of imminent serious physical harm, and involuntary sexual relations between household and family members. It is also considered a domestic violence offense to violate any protective order. The law defines family and household members as people who are currently married or were previously married, people who are living together, people related by blood or through marriage, people who have children in common, and people who have dated or who are currently dating. As you can see, this creates a wide range of situations that can rise to the level of domestic violence.
A police officer can arrest an individual for domestic violence charges if the officer has probable cause, or reason to believe, that a household or family member has committed a crime against another household or family member. According to Massachusetts law, the police may arrest someone on domestic violence charges at any time they have a reason to believe that the suspect has violated a protective order, or in situations when the suspect committed a felony.
The police can also arrest a suspect for any misdemeanor constituting domestic abuse, and for assault and battery. In general, assault occurs when one person uses physical force or an intentional threat of physical force against another person. Any unwanted physical contact or physical contact that is likely to cause harm, therefore, constitutes an assault. Any repeat assault against a household member of family member is treated more severely than the first offense, often carrying heavier penalties and fines. In a domestic violence context, assault is punishable with a two-and-a-half year jail sentence and up to $1,000 in fines. If the defendant is under a restraining order, he or she may be punished with up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
One of the most common defenses to a domestic violence charge is that the police arrested the wrong person. Many families and households consist of a large number of individuals, creating ample opportunity for mistaken identity. If the defendant has an alibi proving that he or she was not at the scene, it creates a powerful defense. Another common defense consists of establishing that the accuser made deliberately false allegations. This occurs frequently in child custody cases when one parent seeks full custody and makes a domestic violence claim against the other parent in order to block his or her parental rights. Other commonly used defenses include self-defense, consent, and lack of proof.
Contact a Boston Attorney to Fight Your Charges
If you or someone you know has been charged with domestic violence, it is critical to speak with an attorney as soon as possible. At Lowney Law, LLC, our Boston lawyers have years of experience defending people charged with domestic violence, assault, drug offenses, OUI, and a broad range of other crimes. We offer a variety of payment plans and can work with you and your family to find an appropriate option. Call 1-617-364-8000 or contact us online to set up a free consultation. We also assist residents of Hyde Park, Mattapan, Dorchester, Jamaica Plain, Roxbury, West Roxbury, and Roslindale, as well as communities throughout Suffolk County.