Massachusetts Domestic Violence

In the state of Massachusetts, domestic violence laws include physical harm or the intent to physically harm, the infliction of fear of physical harm, and involuntary sexual relationship against a family or other household member. This crime is especially serious if the victim was violated by the suspect while a protective order was in place.

Definition of a household member:

  • people who are or have once been married
  • individuals that have children together
  • individuals that are related through marriage or by blood
  • individuals who live together are have lived together, such as roommates
  • individuals who are or who have been in a substantive dating or engagement relationship.

Assault can range from causing actual physical harm to acting with the intent to commit physical harm against another individual. This means that even a serious threat to commit physical harm can be considered assault. Simple assault is in itself a crime, but in Massachusetts, assault against a family or household member is considered a more serious offense.

In addition, stalking can be considered domestic violence, if it is proven that the suspect intended to cause bodily harm or inflict fear to a household member. Repeatedly calling, emailing, or attempting to contact an individual after it was made clear they want contact severed can be considered stalking. Stalking can turn to domestic violence if the victim has experienced severe emotional distress due to threats or the repeated attempts to make contact.

Possible Penalties of Domestic Assault:

  • A first offense of assault can result in up to 2 years in prison and fines up to $1000
  • A first offense of assault while a protective order is in place could result in 2-5 years imprisonment and up to $5000 in fines
  • A second offense could result in 2-5 years imprisonment and felony charges depending on the circumstances

Possible Penalties of Domestic Stalking:

  • The first offense could result in 2-5 years imprisonment and up to $1000 in fines
  • The second offense could result in 2-10 years imprisonment
  • Stalking while a victim is under a protective order can result in 1-5 years imprisonment

If you or a loved one is a victim of domestic violence, please contact an attorney for consultation.


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