DOMESTIC ASSAULT AND BATTERY
In my experience, if a 911 call is placed, you can rest assured the guy is getting arrested even though his wife, partner, or girlfriend plead with the police to allow him to stay home. This is the “cover thy ass” part of the real world and no police officer wants to be the one who left the husband home and then finds out in the morning he killed his wife. Simple as that. So, if you have find yourself in this exact situation, I can develop a game plan to lessen the severity of an arrest.
Domestic assault and battery charges are extremely common in the state of Massachusetts and can have serious implications. Domestic assault and battery convictions often carry with them requirements that the defendant complete special programs for “batterers”, or anger management programs. Also, those convicted may be ordered to stay away from the person on whom they committed the assault and battery. If a weapon was involved in the altercation, the punishment becomes far more serious.
Because domestic assault and battery cases often stem from incidents related to the decline of a relationship, whether it be with a significant other or a family member, time sometimes can heal the intensity of hatred that existed at the time of your arrest. This isn’t always the case but time can be your friend when it comes to this area of law.
In August 2014, Massachusetts Governor Patrick known as “Act Relative to Domestic Violence,” which changes the arraignment, bail, detention, and criminal penalties in domestic violence cases. The impact on arraignment is especially significant.
Generally, in Massachusetts, a defendant is entitled to a prompt arraignment under Mass. R. Crim. P. 7(a)(1) and a 1996 case known as Commonwealth v. Rosario. Under the former, an arrested defendant is to be brought for arraignment before the court if it is in session already, but if it is not, the defendant is to be brought for arraignment at the next session. Any defendant who receives a summons or has been arrested but is released will be ordered to appear before the court on a certain date.
Under the new law, if you are charged with a crime involving domestic abuse or strangulation, you are prevented from being released within six hours of being arrested, unless the judge sets bail in open court. The six-hour period is considered a “cooling off” period during which the situation can be de-escalated and the victim gets time to look for safety. The law also allows prosecutors more time to assess whether it is appropriate to request a dangerousness hearing. If a weapon was alleged to have to have been used the stakes will be ramped up and a dangerousness hearing will likely be held. Under Chapter276/Section58A (1) The commonwealth may move, based on dangerousness, for an order of pretrial detention or release on conditions for a felony offense that has as an element of the offense the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person of another or any other felony that, by its nature, involves a substantial risk that physical force against the person of another may result including the crimes of burglary and arson whether or not a person has been placed at risk thereof, or a violation of an order pursuant to section 18, 34B or 34C of chapter 208, section 32 of chapter 209, section 3, 4 or 5 of chapter 209 A or section 15 or 20 of chapter 209C, or arrested and charged with a misdemeanor or felony involving abuse as defined in section 1 of said chapter 209A or while an order of protection issued under said chapter 209A was in effect against such person, an offense for which a mandatory minimum term of 3 years or more is prescribed in chapter 94C, arrested and charged with a violation of section 13B of chapter 268 or a third or subsequent conviction for a violation of section 24 of chapter 90, or convicted of a violent crime as defined in said section 121 of said chapter 140 for which a term of imprisonment was served and arrested and charged with a second or subsequent offense of felony possession of a weapon or machine gun as defined in section 121 of chapter 140, or arrested and charged with a violation of paragraph (a), (c) or (m) of section 10 of chapter 269; provided, however, that the commonwealth may not move for an order of detention under this section based on possession of a large capacity feeding device without simultaneous possession of a large capacity weapon; or arrested and charged with a violation of section 10G of said chapter 269.
Additionally, at the arraignment of any crime against somebody else’s person or property, the court must ask the prosecutors whether domestic abuse happened immediately before or in conjunction with the crime that is alleged. The prosecutor has to file a written statement and the judge must make written findings about whether domestic abuse is alleged. This finding is put in a Massachusetts domestic violence record keeping system and is only removed if the defendant is acquitted or a no bill is returned. The finding stays in the database, however, when the case is dismissed although it can’t be admitted in an investigation of proceeding before a grand jury or court related to the crime at issue.
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I have had tremendous success in the area of my practice and understand what needs to be done in order to increase your chances of obtaining a successful result. If you have questions, please contact me at my office at (508) 791-9001 or by cell phone at (508) 769-7995. You may also e-mail me Michael@criminaldefenseworcester.com or text me. I take great pride is a very quick response time and will promptly schedule a free initial consultation at your convenience. I have also begun to conduct quite a few meetings via FACETIME or SKYPE for those clients who are either out of state or have license issues.