Simple assault and battery in Massachusetts is a misdemeanor crime. Massachusetts General Law ch.265 sec. 13A provides “[w]hoever commits an assault or an assault and battery upon another shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than 2 1/2 years in a house of correction or by a fine of not more than $1,000.” What this means to you is that if you are charged with assault and battery in Massachusetts that the state's criminal prosecutor would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that three specifics element's:
1) That you touched another person with no right or excuse to do so,
2) That you intended to touch the other person, and
3) That the touching was likely to cause bodily harm or was without the consent of the other person.
It seems to be a common misconception that an assault and battery involves an attack in which one person is trying to hurt another. To the contrary as you can see from the elements of the crime of assault and battery it only requires you to intentionally touch another person without that person consenting and not having a reason that the law would recognize as an excuse to the touching. Over my time as a prosecutor I had seen many people charged with assault and battery simply by grabbing another person's arm.
However, the law does provide several defenses to the crime of assault and battery. Among the possible defenses to assault and battery is the defense of accident, self defense and defense of another. The defense of accident is exactly what it sounds like. The law requires the act to be intentional, thus if it was an unintentional accident that you cannot be guilty of an assault and battery. Self defense and defense of another allows you to use reasonable force when necessary to defend yourself or a third party.
If you find yourself charged with assault and battery engage a criminal defense attorney early. Attorney Newton has handled hundreds of assault and battery and can provide you with your best defense. Call Today for a free consultation. 617-466-6068
David Newton, Esq.