Domestic Cases

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Domestic violence in Massachusetts is referred to as many kinds of abuse committed by a member of a family, a household, or an intimate partner against another member of the family, household, or against the intimate partner. Domestic Violence is not always physical. Domestic violence abuse can be physical, emotional, or sexual in nature or can also involve economic control, and neglect.

Abuse is defined in the state of Massachusetts as

  • attempting to cause or causing physical harm
  • placing another in fear of imminent serious physical harm or
  • causing another to engage involuntarily in sexual relations by force, threat, or duress

Family member/Household members defined

  • are or were married
  • are or were living together
  • are or were related by blood or marriage
  • have a child together
  • are or have been in a substantive dating or engagement relationship

Signs of Domestic Violence

Behaviors or demands that include:

  • Frighten
  • Intimidate
  • Terrorize
  • Manipulate
  • Hurt
  • Humiliate
  • Blame
  • Injure or wound someone
  • Unwanted sexual actions
  • Forced sexual actions

When law enforcement arrives on the scene of a Domestic violence case they are always required to make an arrest.


Assault and assault and battery are punishable by up to two-and-a-half years in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
Assault and battery by a defendant under a restraining order is punishable by up to two-and-a-half years in jail, or up to five years’ imprisonment, and a fine of up to $5,000.
Second and subsequent convictions for assault or assault and battery on a family or household member are punishable by up to two-and-a-half years in jail or up to five years’ imprisonment.

Domestic Assault and Battery Court Process

Arraignment; first court date, charges are addressed
Pretrial; sometimes they can come to a resolution before trial, it could get dismissed, or an admission or plea deal could be arranged
Trial; go to trial by judge and jury