Rhode Island And Massachusetts Assault And Battery Defense Lawyer
Assault and battery charges are very serious, yet very distinct offenses. An Assault, generally defined, is any attempt to hurt another with force or violence. The offense may also consist of putting another in fear of violence. Battery, on the other hand, requires the unconsented touching of the body of another. If you have been charged with Assault and Battery, it is imperative that you do not delay in contacting Kilroy Law Firm today, so our assault defense lawyers can get working on your defense.
Defendants charged with assault or battery face serious repercussions if convicted. It is important to note that while an individual may be charged with both assault and battery simultaneously, the two charges are, in fact, separate and distinct offenses. Both of these offenses are considered misdemeanors, although there are certain circumstances where they may be considered felonies.
If you have been arrested and charged with assault and/or battery in Rhode Island or Massachusetts, it is critical that you contact a reputable, successful criminal defense attorney with significant experience defending assault and battery charges. It is very important that you know all of your rights and possible defenses, and also that you have the utmost confidence in your attorney and legal team. You will go through this ordeal together, and your attorney will be a lifeline during this challenging time. Contact Kilroy Law Firm today so our team can begin working on your defense.
What is the difference between assault and battery?
Not surprisingly, assault and battery are two very “popular” misdemeanors charged in both Rhode Island and Massachusetts; court dockets routinely are filled with these cases.
A simple assault is charged to an individual when he or she puts someone in fear of an unwanted touching. No actual contact must be made for an assault to take place. One example of assault is where an individual tries to punch someone, but the victim ducks and the swing does not connect. If the victim feared he or she was going to be struck, the defendant’s actions constituted assault. Essentially, if a defendant acts in a way that puts the victim in fear of violence, that is considered assault.
Battery, on the other hand, is a different offense than assault in that contact must be made between the defendant and the victim. Battery is defined as the intentional touching of the body of another – without that person’s consent. Battery can include the simple (intentional) touch of a finger on someone’s body, or it can consist of a punch to the face. Many times, battery is just one offense among many charged to a defendant.
As mentioned, both simple assault and battery charges are misdemeanors and carry up to one year in jail, $1,000 fine, or both.
While simple assault is a misdemeanor in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, there is also a distinct offense known as felony assault, which as the names suggests, is a felony. Felony assault takes place if one or both of the following things occur: (i) a dangerous weapon is used in the assault; or (ii) the victim is seriously, physically injured as a result of the assault. Felony assault charges are very serious and may result in severe penalties.
Potential defenses available to the felony offense of assault with a deadly weapon
A skilled attorney with significant experience defending assault with a deadly weapon (ADW) charges will evaluate all potential defenses that may be applicable to a client’s case. There are numerous possible defenses, and the right attorney will know how to evaluate the best options. Some defenses that the criminal defense attorneys at Kilroy Law Firm have successfully argued include the following:
- Lack of a Deadly Weapon – In many cases, prosecutors charge defendants with ADW regardless of the “weapon” involved. However, the weapon may not always qualify as dangerous. In those cases, good defense attorneys persuade the court that the object used was not dangerous as dictated by the statute. As a result, the ADW charge may be reduced to simple assault, which is a misdemeanor.
- Lack of Intent – When prosecutors bring ADW charges against a defendant, they must sufficiently demonstrate that the defendant had intent to commit assault with a deadly weapon. If the prosecution cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant had the requisite intent, the charge may be dismissed.
- Self Defense – In certain situations, a victim is permitted to use reasonable force against someone else when the victim is threatened by immediate, physical, bodily injury, and harm. In these cases, one may be able to argue self defense.
- Defense of others – As with self defense, in some cases, an individual is permitted to use reasonable force against someone else when a third person is threatened by immediate, physical, bodily injury and harm.
- Insufficient evidence – ADW cases are often difficult to prove because, in many situations, prosecutors do not have sufficient evidence to support the charge. If this is the case, a good defense attorney will seek for the dismissal of the charge.
Penalties for Assault and Battery in Rhode Island and Massachusetts
Misdemeanor assault and battery offenses carry a maximum of one year in prison and/or up to a $1,000 fine, whereas felony assault and battery charges can result in up to 20 years in prison and/or over $1,000 in fines. The exact penalty will be contingent on the facts of the crime, a defendant’s prior criminal history, willingness for witnesses to come forward, and other factors.
Attorney Noah J. Kilroy spent many years prosecuting assault and battery cases. Now, as a defense attorney with a successful track record of helping clients, he zealously and aggressively will advocate for you. If you have been charged with assault and battery, contact our offices for a free consultation.