Assault and Battery By Means of Dangerous Weapon Laws
Assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon is a crime in Massachusetts that the courts take very seriously. This crime is a felony, which means that there is a potential for a committed sentence to a state prison, as opposed to a jail or house of correction, if the Commonwealth proves this case beyond a reasonable doubt. Massachusetts laws define this crime the same as an assault and battery with the added element of the dangerous weapon.What Is a Dangerous Weapon?
In Massachusetts, a “dangerous weapon” is not just the typical objects such as a gun or knife. These items are considered “inherently dangerous” because they are “capable of causing serious injury or death.” If these are the alleged “dangerous weapon,” the judge will give a jury instruction indicating that “as a matter of law” the knife or gun is a “dangerous weapon.”
However, a “dangerous weapon” can also be anything that is used in such a manner that it “reasonably appears to be capable of causing serious injury or death” to someone. If you hit someone with anything other than your hand you can be found guilty in Massachusetts for assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon. If you kick someone and you have shoes or sneakers on your feet, Massachusetts considers those actions assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. Massachusetts Courts have even found that a wall or the ground can be a “dangerous weapon” if a person is thrown against a wall or to the ground in such a manner that death or serious injury could result.
The Massachusetts District Court jury instructions provide the examples of a lighted cigarette, if used in such a fashion to burn somebody, or a pencil, if aimed at someone’s eye or used in manner to cause death or serious injury, as “dangerous weapons.” The jury is instructed to look at all of the surrounding circumstances to determine whether an item is a “dangerous weapon” or not.
If the Commonwealth fails to establish that the item was a “dangerous weapon,” a defendant can still be convicted of the lesser-included offense of simple assault and battery. Assault and battery is a misdemeanor in Massachusetts. The most severe potential penalty for a conviction of this offense is two and one half years in the house of correction or jail. There is no possibility of being sentenced to state prison if convicted for simple assault and battery.What Are the Penalties If Convicted of This Felony?
Punishment for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon in Massachusetts can range from probation to ten (10) years in prison or a fine of up to $5,000.00. If you commit an assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon in Massachusetts and you cause someone serious bodily injury or if the person you hit is pregnant, you face up to fifteen (15) years in prison. If you commit an assault and battery with a dangerous weapon on someone who is sixty years old or older in Massachusetts, you might be facing a mandatory jail or prison sentence.
Kathleen McCarthy is known among Massachusetts criminal defense lawyers as someone who has handled matters involving the crime of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon. Her experience involves trying these cases to a jury or a judge, arguing for bails for persons charged with this crime and negotiating dispositions for people accused of having committed this act.
If you have been charged with this crime or believe that you might be charged with this crime, you should contact Massachusetts Criminal Attorney Kathleen McCarthy online or call 978-975-8060.