What is Assault with a Dangerous Weapon?
The crime of assault does not require there to be any physical contact with the victim. Under the law in Massachusetts, an assault can occur in two ways. First, an assault can be an attempted battery, which is a harmful or unpermitted touching of another individual. Second, an imminently threatened battery also constitutes an assault.
An attempted battery can occur when someone throws a punch at another but does not make contact with them. Under this type of assault, the prosecution does not need to prove the victim was placed in fear or aware of the attempted battery. An example of an imminently threatened battery is a situation where one person threatens to punch another and engages in some conduct that the victim felt as imminently threatening a battery.
To prove an assault with a dangerous weapon occurred, the prosecution must prove the defendant committed one of the above forms of assault with a dangerous weapon.
Potential Penalties for Assault with Dangerous Weapon in Massachusetts
Pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 265 Section 15B, assault with a dangerous weapon is a felony punishable by up to five years in state prison or two and one-half years in jail or house of correction. A conviction may also result in a fine of up to $1,000.00. In addition to a jail or prison sentence, an individual convicted of assault with a dangerous weapon may be placed on probation and subject to a number of terms and conditions, including attending anger management classes or a court-ordered batterer’s program.
Stay Away and No Contact Orders are also common conditions of probation, as well as abiding by any active restraining orders. Failure to comply with the terms and conditions of probation may result in a probation violation and additional punishment, while a violation of a restraining order will likely result in additional criminal charges.
How can a Criminal Defense Attorney help?
Depending on the evidence, a skilled criminal defense attorney may be able to show the defendant was acting in self-defense and therefore not guilty of assault with a dangerous weapon. When there is limited physical evidence, an experienced trial attorney can create reasonable doubt by addressing the victim’s credibility and showing they had a bias or motive to lie. If a trial is not in the client’s best wishes, a criminal defense lawyer can potentially negotiate a reduction in charges to simple misdemeanor assault thereby allowing the defendant to avoid felony charges.
Criminal defense lawyers will evaluate all the evidence and discovery in a criminal case then conduct their own independent investigation, hire expert witnesses, research potential legal issues, and draft and file all necessary discovery motions, motions to dismiss, motions to suppress, and motions in limine. Every single criminal case is different and requires the knowledge and understanding that a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can bring to a case.
Where to Find a Criminal Defense Attorney in Massachusetts?
Being charged with a criminal offense is scary and stressful. Whether the allegations are true or not, a criminal defense attorney can help you through the difficulties that come with facing criminal charges. At Riccio Law in Massachusetts, we believe that all individuals charged with a crime should receive an aggressive defense to ensure their rights are protected and the laws are upheld.
Riccio Law, LLC serves the greater Boston area and southeastern Massachusetts. Attorney Anthony R. Riccio is a former prosecutor and a respected Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer with an in-depth understanding of criminal law. If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges in district court, superior court, or federal court in Massachusetts, call 508-226-4500 or click here to learn about our firm and schedule your free consultation.