In Massachusetts, under M.G.L. C. 265, s. 1A, an assault is a misdemeanor crime and involves either an attempted battery (offer of harm) or an intent to place another person in fear or apprehension of an immediate battery. It is punishable by imprisonment for up to two and one half years in a house of correction or by a fine of up to $500.00 dollars.
An attempt to commit a battery requires a specific intent or conscious design to achieve a criminal end and some proof of an overt act. An example would be throwing a punch at someone or by demonstrating an intent to use immediate force on another person such as coming at someone with your fists flying. The crime of threatened battery involves menacing conduct that is intended to cause fear or apprehension of imminent bodily harm in another person.
Words can constitute an assault under Massachusetts law when a person implies that he has a gun or puts an object against someone and tells them it is a weapon. It is important to note that the victim's actual fear of an attempted battery is not necessary to be convicted of the crime of assault.
Simple assault is a lesser included offense of other assaultive crimes including but not limited to intentional assault and battery, assault with a dangerous weapon, indecent assault and battery on a person 14 years old or older, and attempted murder.
To be convicted of the crime of assault the Commonwealth or prosecutor must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
For attempted battery assault:
- The defendant intended to commit a battery (a harmful or unpermitted touching) upon another person
- The defendant took some overt step toward accomplishing that intent and came reasonably close to doing so.
Again, it is not necessary for the government to prove that the person or alleged victim was actually placed in fear.
For an imminently threatened battery assault:
- The defendant intended to put the alleged victim in fear of an imminent battery, and
- The Defendant engaged in some conduct toward the alleged victim which the alleged victim reasonably perceived as imminently threatening a battery (a harmful or unpermitted touching of another person).
If you have been charged with the crime of assault or any other crime in which assault is a lesser included offense, you need to hire an experienced Boston, Massachusetts criminal defense attorney who will provide an expert and aggressive defense on your behalf. Attorney Patrick J. Murphy has the expertise and aggressive courtroom ability to defend you if you have been charged with an assault crime or summonsed to appear in court on assault charges. Contact the Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy, Esq. today for a free and confidential legal consultation by calling (617) 367-0450 or completing the contacts tab on our website.