Armed Assault in a Dwelling House

In Massachusetts, General Laws Chapter 265, Section 18(a) dictates that an individual armed with a dangerous weapon who breaks and enters a house and assaults another person while having the intent to commit a felony shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for a minimum mandatory sentence of ten years and maximum sentence for life and without parole for five years. If the individual was armed with a dangerous weapon such as a firearm, shotgun, machine gun, rifle, or assault weapon, they shall be imprisoned in the state prison for a minimum mandatory sentence of ten years and without parole for ten years.

In order for an individual to be found guilty of Armed Assault in a Dwelling House, the prosecution must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt three elements:

  1. The armed defendant unlawfully entered the dwelling of another;
  2. The defendant placed a person lawfully therein in fear; and
  3. The defendant possessed intent to commit a felony while assaulting an individual lawfully present in the dwelling.

Armed assaults and home invasions are serious crimes in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and if charged with this crime, you can expect the prosecution to bring a full-fledged attack in the case against you. For this purpose, it is imperative that you seek a reputable and relentless Suffolk County criminal defense attorney to launch an equally aggressive strategy in your defense, especially as it pertains to defeating eyewitness and DNA/blood evidence. To establish the first element stated above, the defendant must have been armed with a dangerous weapon or instrumentality with which he created fear within another person and the use of which he intended to engage in criminal activity. The second element requires the defendant to have placed fear in a person who was lawfully present in the dwelling house, which the defendant unlawfully entered. For purposes of this crime, the term ‘dwelling house’ may encompass all buildings such as houses, apartments, hotels, dormitories, hospitals, institutions, sanatoriums or any building where an individual is considered domiciled. To be considered lawfully present in a dwelling house, an individual must either be the owner or inhabitant of the dwelling house, an invitee of the inhabitants, or one who lawfully obtained permission to enter the dwelling house for purposes of repairs, maintenance, delivery of goods, etc.

Defenses Available

In addition to proving the first two elements of this crime, the prosecution must also prove that when the defendant entered the dwelling house of another, he possessed the intent to commit a felony. Proving the intent of an individual is a difficult and tricky element to establish, as it requires the Commonwealth to assess the mental state of the defendant. In a case from 2000, Commonwealth vs. Richard Mahar, the aspect of intent warranted the Supreme Judicial Court to hold that if a defendant lacks the requisite intent to commit a robbery, he may not be convicted of armed assault with intent to rob if that defendant had a honest and reasonable belief that he took his own property. In this case, the court remanded the case back to Superior Court and declared a new trial. The circumstances specific to your case will be a major factor in determining whether or not the necessary elements that the prosecution must prove to get the case before a jury. For a free legal analysis of your case, please contact Attorney Patrick J. Murphy today.

Fearless Massachusetts Assault Crimes Defense Attorney

When you hire Attorney Patrick J. Murphy, you can rest assured that your case will be handled with the utmost care and expertise. The Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy is experienced in assault cases such as this, and Attorney Murphy possesses the skills and intelligence to construct the most commanding and combative defense for your case. Attorney Murphy has 18 years of successful experience defending clients facing criminal charges such as Armed Assault in a Dwelling House, and he is available 24/7 to provide you with a free and confidential legal assessment of your case. For additional information, please call (617) 367-0450 or complete the contacts tab on our website.

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