I Was Arrested in Worcester for a Domestic Violence Related Offense. What Exactly am I Being Charged With?
Charges of domestic violence in Massachusetts involve allegations between family and household members. The term “family or household member” has a very specific meaning under Massachusetts law. It includes:
- Blood relatives
- People who are or were married
- People who are or were living together
- People who are or were related by marriage
- People who have children together
- People who are dating or have dated
Domestic violence charges could involve any number of criminal offenses, including felony offenses like assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, strangulation, or suffocation. It could include witness intimidation, kidnapping or any number of misdemeanor offenses like assault, assault and battery, making threats or a violation of a restraining order.
If I was Charged with a Domestic Violence Related Offense in Massachusetts, Does That Mean That There is Going to be a Restraining Order or Order of Protection Automatically Put Against Me?
A domestic violence charge does not automatically trigger a restraining order in Massachusetts. However, an alleged victim can pursue a civil restraining order in conjunction with a criminal case. It’s very important to treat that civil restraining order proceeding cautiously because anything you say during that hearing can be used against you in a criminal case. Additionally, a judge may impose a no-contact or “stay away order” against you as a condition of a release when you’re arraigned in court. If you violate that condition, your bail or personal recognizance could be revoked and you could be sent to jail pending trial on the domestic violence case.
Are There any Viable Defenses to Domestic Violence Charges? Could I Really Win my Domestic Violence Case?
It’s definitely possible to successfully defend against domestic violence charges in Massachusetts. I’ve done that for many, many clients in the past.
All domestic violence or domestic assault cases are complicated and unique, so there’s no single strategy that can be said to work every time. However, there is a commonality in these cases, which is that many domestic cases must be taken to trial. For domestic violence cases that go to trial, it’s important to carefully investigate the alleged victim. If they are indeed falsely accusing a client of a crime, it is essential to pinpoint their motive for doing so. Information about an alleged victim’s ulterior motives can then be used to cross-examine the witness at trial and to show the jury why the alleged victim’s testimony can’t be trusted.
In cases where the accuser would like to see the charges dismissed, I usually take a gentler approach and work to get the case resolved prior to trial.
The Accuser in My Domestic Violence Case is Trying to Contact Me. Should I Talk to Them and See if They Will Come Forward and Tell the Truth?
Again, every domestic violence situation is different. However, generally speaking, it’s not a good idea for an accused party to speak to an alleged victim in a domestic violence case. In some cases, speaking to your accuser might result in a violation of the terms of your release, which could lead to your bail or personal recognizance being revoked. If you speak to your accuser and it does not go well, they could also claim that you attempted to keep them from testifying in court. This could lead to additional charges for witness intimidation, which are very serious felony charges that you do not want to face in Massachusetts.