Assault and Battery on a Person Protected by an Abuse Prevention Order

Domestic violence is taken seriously by the courts and aggressively prosecuted by the District Attorney's Office in Massachusetts. Usually, when abuse or the threat of abuse occurs in a relationship, one party seeks and obtains an Abuse Prevention Order also know as a Restraining Order or TRO (Temporary Restraining Order) for protection from the other party. These civil court orders remain in place for up to a year and can be renewed prior to expiration. Any violation of such an order by the party restricted under the order will result in criminal charges and immediate arrest by the police, even if they have not witnessed the violation. The law is defined under G.L. c.265, §13A(b)(iii).

With ever increasing incidents of domestic violence, the Massachusetts Legislature has sought to increase the penalties on the individual that commits assault and battery upon another person who he or she knows has an outstanding temporary or permanent restraining order or judgment issued under section 18, section 34B or 34C of chapter 208, section 32 of chapter 209, section 3, 4 or 5 of chapter 209A, or section 15 or 20 of chapter 209C, in effect against him or her at the time of such assault or assault and battery.

The crime of assault and battery on a person protected by an Abuse Prevention Order is treated as a felony in Massachusetts and requires serious legal representation by a criminal defense attorney that you have the utmost trust and confidence in. The crime is punishable as follows:

  • imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 5 years or;
  • house of correction for not more than 21/2 years, or;
  • by a fine of not more than $5,000, or by both the fine and imprisonment.

In order for a defendant to be convicted of this crime, the prosecutor must prove six elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. That the accused touched the alleged victim without any right or excuse;
  2. That the accused intended to touch the alleged victim;
  3. That the touching by the accused was either likely to cause the alleged victim bodily harm or that it was done without the other person's consent;
  4. A court must have issued an order or judgment under G.L. c. 209A against the defendant ordering him or her to:
    1. vacate or stay away from a certain premises or;
    2. to stay a certain distance away from an alleged victim or;
    3. not to make contact with the alleged victim directly or indirectly or;
    4. not to abuse the alleged victim.
  5. The Abuse Prevention Order must have been in effect at the time of the alleged assault and battery; and
  6. The defendant must have known that the relevant section of the Abuse Prevention Order was in effect at the time.

In order for the prosecutor to proof the requisite knowledge under the law, there must be proof that the defendant actually received a copy of the restraining order or somehow learned of the order in some other way.

A skilled criminal defense attorney will attack such a charge in any number of ways including challenging the veracity of the alleged victim or any witnesses, exploiting their underlying motives or biases, and securing helpful documentary evidence, including phone records, CORI records of prosecution witnesses and conflicting witness statements for purposes of impeachment.

Boston, Massachusetts Assault and Battery Crimes Attorney

Attorney Patrick J. Murphy is a skilled criminal defense trial lawyer fully prepared to offer a comprehensive legal defense of your assault and battery charges, including the felony crime of assault and battery on a person protected by an Abuse Prevention Order. The Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy is available today to discuss your case. Attorney Murphy will meet you at the jail, in his office or at any other location needed to discuss your criminal defense. Contact Attorney Murphy today.

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