Police, prosecutors, and judges take a charge of domestic violence very seriously. Once you’re charged with assault and battery on a family or household member, your name is entered into a domestic violence database. The only way to remove your name is by a dismissal or an acquittal following a trial. In Massachusetts when a person is charged with “Domestic Violence” (Assault and Battery on a Family or Household Member), they are charged pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 265 § 13M.

In order to prove assault and battery on a household or family member the prosecutor must prove four things:

  1. That you touched the alleged victim without having any excuse or right for doing so;
  2. That you intended to touch the alleged victim;
  3. That the touching was either likely to cause bodily harm to the alleged victim or was offensive and done without his/her consent and;
  4. That you and the alleged victim were family or household members.

A “Family or Household Member” means people who:

  • Are or were married to one another;
  • Have a child in common; or
  • Are or have been in a substantive dating relationship or engaging relationship.

Once the police are involved, it is very difficult to obtain a dismissal of the charges. In many cases the alleged victim, wife, or girlfriend unwittingly places a call to police with no intent on charges being filed. However, once a defendant is charged with the crime of domestic assault and battery the prosecution will very rarely drop the case. The case then becomes the Commonwealth of Massachusetts versus the person being charged, and the victim has little to no say in whether the prosecution continues.

A misdemeanor charge of domestic assault and battery in Massachusetts carries with it a maximum potential penalty of 2 ½ years in the house of correction and/or a fine up to $1,000. For a Subsequent charge a defendant can face up to 2 ½ years in the house of correction or 5 years in prison and/or a fine up to $5,000.

For any violation of the statute or as a condition of a continuance without a finding, the court shall order the defendant to complete a certified batterer’s intervention program unless, upon good cause shown, the court issues specific findings of fact describing the reasons that the batterer’s program should not be ordered or unless the batter’s intervention program determines that the defendant is not suitable for intervention.

Upon accepting a plea, or a continuance without a finding, a common condition of probation usually includes one of the following:

Anger Management program which typically lasts for 16 weeks;

Certified Batterer’s program which typically lasts for 40 weeks.

A Domestic violence charge carries jail, fines, a criminal record, and a negative stigma all of which can have lasting significance. If you have been charged with a criminal offense it is important to talk with a skilled professional. JD Molleur Law has the knowledge and experience that will ensure that you fully understand your rights and options and we will be with you every step of the way. We can be reached at 508.579.8333. Alternatively, you can call us 24 hours a day 7 days a week at (508) 579-8333. You can also email us at We will provide a timely response no matter when you call.

This information does not constitute legal advice and is written for general information purposes only. Individuals should consult with a lawyer for specific legal advice.

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