Massachusetts law defines assault as intending or trying to use force against another person. If this attempt succeeds, the offender could receive assault and battery charges, defined as deliberate nonconsensual or harmful contact with another person.
When facing criminal charges that result from a fight or physical altercation, understand the guidelines and potential penalties for these crimes.
General assault or assault and battery
Crimes in this category do not appear in a different Massachusetts statute. Any such assault or assault and battery conviction can result in up to 30 months in prison and a fine of up to $1,000. These penalties increase to fines of up to $5,000 and up to five years in prison if:
- The offender violated a restraining order against the victim.
- The offender knows that the victim is pregnant.
- The victim suffers serious bodily injury as a result of the crime.
For assault with violent force in an attempt to steal from the victim, the offender could receive up to 10 years in prison.
Types of bodily injury
Any bruise, burn, fracture or internal damage resulting from harm by another person constitutes bodily injury under Massachusetts law. The state defines serious bodily injury as impairment, loss or permanent disfigurement of any body part. Any injury that puts the person’s life at risk is also in this category.
Substantial bodily injury, a lower charge, results in lasting but not permanent impairment or loss of a body part. For example, breaking another person’s limb would likely fall into this category.
Assault against a child
A person can receive either a misdemeanor or felony charges for causing substantial bodily injury or bodily injury to anyone younger than 14. This includes injuries that result from reckless behavior, such as putting the child in danger by leaving him or her with an abusive relative.
Because Massachusetts has several different statutes that address assault and battery, it can be difficult to understand how these laws impact your case. Legal penalties will vary significantly depending on specific circumstances.