Assault & Battery vs. Aggravated Assault & Battery in MA

In Massachusetts, a person can commit the violent crimes of assault or assault and battery. While assault means attempting to inflict physical harm against another person or threatening the use of immediate physical force against another, assault and battery is committed by intentionally touching someone else in a manner that can cause bodily harm or without the other person’s consent. 

According to state law, assault or assault and battery is a misdemeanor offense, punishable by a maximum jail sentence of two-and-a-half years and a fine of up to $1,000. On the other hand, a person may face aggravated assault and battery charges and penalties, depending on the facts and circumstances of the case. 

A person can be charged with aggravated battery if one of the following circumstances is true: 

  • The victim suffered a “serious bodily injury,” which includes permanent bodily disfigurement, protracted loss or impairment of a body part or organ, or an injury that posed a significant risk of death. 

  • The victim has an active no-contact or restraining order issued against the defendant. 

  • The victim was pregnant, and the defendant knew or had some reason to know about the pregnancy. 

  • The defendant used a dangerous weapon (e.g., firearm, knife, baseball bat, or otherwise any device that can cause substantial or fatal injury). 

  • The victim is from a protected group (e.g., children younger than 14 years old, a disabled person, an elderly person, a family or household member, a law enforcement official, a healthcare provider, a public employee performing their official duties, etc.). 

An aggravated assault and battery charge is generally a felony that carries a prison term of up to five years and/or a maximum fine of $5,000. However, assault with a deadly weapon is punishable by imprisonment for up to 10 years, or 15 years if the victim suffered a serious injury or is part of a protected class. 

If aggravated assault against a member of a protected class and the victim suffered a serious injury, then the maximum prison sentence is 15 years. Aggravated assault and battery involving drugging a person is punishable by a prison sentence of up to 15 years. 

Lastly, aggravated assault with an intent to commit rape carries a life sentence or a prison term of up to 20 years. Many of these aggravated assault charges are associated with mandatory minimum sentences. 

The following are the common legal defenses to assault and battery, as well as aggravated assault and battery: 

  • The defendant acted in self-defense 

  • The defendant acted in defense of another person 

  • The defendant acted in defense of their property (i.e., “Castle Doctrine”) 

If you have been accused of committed assault and battery or aggravated assault and battery in Boston, call Brad Bailey Law at (617) 500-0252 or complete our online contact form today to request a free initial consultation. Our firm is led by a former state and federal prosecutor with more than 50 years of legal experience! 

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