Assault & Battery

Assault and Battery is a serious criminal offense. Being convicted of any assault crime can forever change your life. The most serious offenses carry a real risk of prison time.

Criminal Charge in Massachusetts? Call Attorney Russell Matson at (781) 817-6332.

But even lesser assault charges can give you a permanent criminal record for a violent crime to appear on your record. That information being available and disclosed to future employers can be devastating to your employment prospects, so any assault and battery charge isn’t something to take lightly.

An assault charge can result from a variety of situations where emotions and tempers get out of hand. It is common for a disagreement to escalate into a fight. Often alcohol is involved which leads to poor judgment and poor decision making by one or both parties.

But if you made a mistake, that doesn’t mean you should accept a criminal conviction. And, of course, if you were the victim or were provoked, we will fight for you and use that in your legal  defense. Either way, the goal is to solve this legal problem for you and keep your record clean.

Beating a Massachusetts Assault and Battery Charge in Court

Whether you were arrested for assault or received a criminal summons to a clerk magistrate’s hearing, I can help fight and win these cases.

A clerk magistrate’s hearing is often the very best opportunity to get rid of this charge before it is even issued. I wrote a book on winning at clerk magistrate’s hearings.

If there isn’t a significant injury, clerk’s are often willing to make these charges go away with the right argument. That argument could be that it was a misunderstanding between friends that don’t want to pursue a charge, a self defense argument, or many other situations depending on the facts of the case.

And you can also be charged with assault when you are completely innocent, so, of course, I will fight to protect your rights in cases like this.

Assault Case Wins
December 2016
Assault and Battery
Fitchburg District Court
December 2016
A&B Dangerous Weapon
Hingham District Court
May 2016
Assault and Battery
Cambridge District Court
May 2016
Assault and Battery
Clinton District Court
December 2015
Assault and Battery
Woburn District Court
A&B w/Dangerous Weapon
Newton District Court
Dismissed at Clerk’s Hearing
Domestic A&B
Brookline District Court
Motion to Dismiss Agreed

You may not have instigated or caused the situation that led you to this point. I have represented many people accused of assault charges who were only defending themselves after being attacked, or in situations where the altercation was mutual, such as in a bar fight.

Whether you were defending yourself or got caught up in an emotional situation where you lost control –  whatever the case, I can help. I have had successful results in court with a variety of assault and assault related charges.

Here is a video about a recent domestic assault case that I beat.

Other Assault Defense Options

If you are arrested on an assault charge, or a criminal complaint is issued at a clerk magistrate hearings, we still have many options to pursue in your defense.

We can try to work out a deal that will clear your record in 6 months to a year in exchange for anger management classes or other sentencing alternatives.

We can also fight this charge at trial with a variety of different strategies. Self-defense is a valid argument if you had reasonable cause to be afraid of attack, or if there is any evidence you were attacked first.

Having an experienced criminal defense attorney can make a huge difference in court. As your attorney, I would help ensure your side of the story is heard and work to get you the best possible result. For most people, anything that avoids a criminal conviction or record in the future is a win.

Assault and Battery Laws

In Massachusetts, there are many criminal offenses covered under the assault statutes. Most assault charges  are actually assault and battery offenses, where physical contact is made, and some injury may have occurred.

But to be charged and even convicted of assault, you do not actually need to have hurt anyone. As a matter of fact, you don’t even have to make physical contact.

If you put someone in fear that you will cause harm, you can face assault charges.

Under the statute, assault is punishable by up to 2 ½ years in prison and fines reaching $1,000. That’s the theoretical maximum, but the worst case almost never, ever happens.

Ref: MGL c.265 §13A

The risk of jail time is very small for a first offense assault charge where no one was actually physically hurt, and would only happen under very unusual circumstances.

But avoiding any criminal record is almost always one of the primary goals of our legal defense strategy. With assault charges, other factors can increase the severity of your punishment. A weapon, any perceived motive, and if any actual injury occurs can all change the outcome.

Assault and Battery with a Dangerous Weapon

Assault and Battery with a deadly or dangerous weapon (sometimes known as aggravated assault) can make an assault charge into a felony offense. A dangerous weapon can mean a wide variety of things, a gun, a knife, or a blunt instrument like a bat. It can also mean a car if you are accused of deliberately trying to hit someone while driving.

A “dangerous weapon” in an ABDW charge can mean a wide variety of objects. A gun, a knife, or a blunt instrument like a bat can all be dangerous or deadly weapons. Any heavy, thrown object can be considered a weapon, such as if you through a stone or a brick at or near someone. It can also mean a car if you are accused of deliberately trying to hit someone while driving.

Even if you just kick someone, you can be charged with assault with a dangerous weapon, depending on your choice of shoes. Particularly a heavy or steel-toed boot will result in an assault with a deadly weapon (shod foot) charge.

Yes, I have seen the words “shod foot” appear in a police report as a dangerous weapon in cases where it was clearly silly.

So if you throw or propel any object near another person, the police can choose to charge you with a felony assault charge. When charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon are very clearly overblown or unwarranted, we’ve had excellent success in getting the charges dropped and getting great outcomes for our clients.

Indecent Assault and Battery

If the nature of the assault and battery involves an “indecent” type of contact of a potentially sexual nature, you can be charged with indecent assault and battery.

Indecent assault is always a felony offense. See my full indecent assault page for details.


Mayhem is a serious class of assault. In involves scarring injury to the alleged victim. Although rare, mayhem is nothing to be taken lightly.

You may be charged with mayhem if you intend to maim or disfigure someone by cutting them severely, disabling a limb, or mutilating them.

If convicted of this offense, you could face up to twenty years in prison.

Ref: MGL c.265 §14

Assault with Intent to Kill or Maim

If the prosecution can prove to the court that you intended to kill or maim someone with your assaultive action you could face this charge. This is one of the more serious assault crimes and can lead to up to 10 years in prison and fines.

Ref: MGL c.265 §15

Assault to Cause Intimidation

Your motives may be called into question and you can be charged with this offense if it is found that you acted to intimidate or assault someone because of their race, religion, origin, sexual orientation, or disability.

Depending on the results of your actions in this type of case, you could be looking at 2 ½ to ten years. In addition, when convicted of an offense commonly known as a “hate crime”, you will be ordered to attend a diversity training session.

As with any assault crime, if you use a weapon in the commission of this act you could be charged with additional criminal offenses. See my weapons offense page for more details.

Is an Assault Charge a Misdemeanor or a Felony?

Generally, assault charges in Massachusetts are considered misdemeanors unless the victim is a Police Officer, or you are charged with “aggravated assault”  which are are classified as felonies.

Cases in which there is domestic aggravated assault are also very serious.  That type of assault is defined as an unlawful attack by one family member upon another with the intent of inflicting serious injury through the use or threatened use of dangerous weapons.

Penalties for being accused of committing any violent felony can involve very serious jail time and it is highly recommended that you seek the advice and assistance of an attorney experienced in this area of the law. Our office has had great success with this type of case, and we urge you to contact us to consult and evaluate your case.

Get a legal defense consultation today!

Assault charges are something to be taken very seriously. Anytime your reputation and freedom are on the line, you shouldn’t risk not dealing with it aggressively and quickly. The sooner we get to work on your case, the more defense options we will have. And the initial consultation is free, there’s no obligation if you decide not to hire us.

If you are facing charges like A & B, contact me today. I am interested in the details of your case and interested in getting you the best results possible.

I have a successful record of fighting and winning assault cases, at trial and even beating them at clerk’s hearings before a criminal complaint is even issued. If you are accused of a Massachusetts assault and battery charge, give me a call or text me to discuss your specific situation, and how I can help.


(781) 817-6332

Call Now for a Free Criminal Consultation.