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What are the Penalties for Domestic Violence in Massachusetts?

penalties for domestic violence

The penalties for domestic violence in Massachusetts can range from jail time to probation.  This depends on the circumstances of the offense and your record.

Domestic violence is a serious offense in Massachusetts law and can carry jail time, holding you without bond, and other serious penalties. If you’re charged with a domestic violence, contact a Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer to begin preparing your defense.  Contact me today at (617) 295-7500 to get started on your defense.

What is Domestic Violence in Massachusetts?

The main domestic violence offense, assault and battery on a family or household member, consists of an assault and battery on someone with a certain relationship with you. The other person must be – (1) a spouse or former spouse, (2) have a child in common, or (3) have had a substantial dating relationship.

Can I Be Held in Jail for Domestic Violence?

In Massachusetts, you must be held for at least six hours on a domestic violence offense. Furthermore, the judge must carefully weigh the victim’s safety when deciding bail for someone accused of domestic violence.  Domestic violence can also result in a dangerousness hearing.  This could mean you’re held without bail for up to 120 days or until trial.

Can I go to Prison for Domestic Violence?

Assault and Battery on a Family or Household Member can be either a felony or a misdemeanor in Massachusetts.  This depends on whether you have a prior domestic violence offense.

For a first offense, you can be punished up to two-and-a-half years in jail (or House of Corrections) and/or a $5,000 fine. For a second offense, you can be punished with a sentence of prison up to five years or a House of Corrections sentence up to two-and-a-half years.

Importantly, a domestic violence offense can affect your right to own a firearm and your immigration status.  You can also be subject to a restraining order if charged with domestic violence.


What are the Defenses to a Domestic Violence Charge?

A charge of assault and battery on a family or household member has many defenses.  A skilled criminal defense attorney can help you win your domestic violence charge.  The defenses include self-defense, identity, and that no assault and battery occurred.


If you’re charged with domestic violence, you need to hire an experienced Massachusetts criminal defense attorney immediately.  I have secured dismissals in dozens of domestic violence charges. Contact me today, and we’ll get started on your defense.  Call (or text) me at (617) 295-7500.


Although I am an attorney, I am not your attorney.  Please do not rely on anything on this page as legal advice because any specific advice would depend on your situation.  Any results posted on this page are not guarantees of outcomes in your case.

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