What’s the difference between assault and battery?

On behalf of Brian D. Roman, Attorney at Law on Wednesday, June 3, 2015.

If you are currently facing charges for domestic assault and battery then it's a good idea to know a little bit about those crimes. Massachusetts has adopted a very proactive stance with regard to protecting citizens from violence within their homes. One of the ways that the state accomplishes this is by granting police the authority to arrest individuals suspected of committing domestic violence. This is true, even if police are unable to find any physical evidence that any violence has occurred.

That's because assault and battery are two separate acts, both with their own requirements. For example, a domestic assault occurs when a person makes a threat of violence against another person with whom they share a familial relationship. Whereas, a domestic battery occurs when a person in that same relationship actually makes contact with that other person with the intent to cause injury or inflict pain.

You need to know that your arrest for either alleged offense does not necessarily mean that prosecutors will be able to prove those charges against you at trial. Additionally, prosecutors may be willing to allow you to participate in a diversion program such as attending batterer's awareness classes in lieu of going to jail.

It's always a good idea to have legal representation whenever you are facing criminal charges. Your attorney can challenge the evidence being offered against you as well as negotiate on your behalf for a plea settlement agreement with prosecutors. Although no outcome is ever guaranteed in legal matters, the risks of a conviction on domestic violence charges can adversely affect you in numerous ways. You could be forced to leave your current residence or prevented from having contact with your children. Both are good reasons why retaining an experienced criminal defense attorney may be a great long-term decision.

Source: Mass.gov, "Assault and battery - Jury instructions," accessed June 03, 2015