Understanding the basics about what an assault and battery charge can mean for you

Being charged with a crime can feel very scary. It’s common to feel overwhelmed and not sure about what steps to take if you or a loved one faces an assault and battery charge. In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, assault and battery is considered a very serious offense and can carry substantial penalties if found guilty. However, what is considered assault and battery can vary greatly and it is easy to get confused when trying to understand what your specific charges entail. In this article, we offer some insight into assault and battery charges, to help orient those who may be facing such charges. 

It’s important that if you or someone you love is facing an assault and battery charge, that you contact a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. In many cases, it’s important to act quickly. Murphy & Rudolf, LLP’s Worcester-based team of assault and battery lawyers can provide the necessary quality and experienced legal representation you need to protect your future. You can contact Murphy & Rudolf, LLP today for a free consultation: 508-762-1397.

1. Assault and Battery aren’t necessarily the same thing but are often closely tied together

The Legal Information Institute of the Cornell Law School explains that in some states, “Criminal law statutes will sometimes merge the two terms of ‘assault’ and ‘battery’ into the one crime of ‘assault.’” (1)

In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, “assault” and “assault and battery” are distinct and separate offenses that are charged and prosecuted differently. However, it is very common that assault charges ultimately end up as an assault and battery charge.

2. The difference between assault and battery is physical touch

As we said, in most cases in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, people are often charged with both an assault and battery charge. But let’s break it down. 

Assault: having the intent or attempting to inflict physical harm on a person. If you are only charged with assault, it means that ultimately the alleged victim was never touched nor injured.

Assault and battery: having the intent and making physical contact with the alleged victim. The battery charge refers directly to the act of causing harm. 

3. An assault and battery charge can be either a misdemeanor or a felony and penalties can be severe

The penalties for assault and battery charges can be quite severe and may carry mandatory sentences. If convicted of a misdemeanor charge of assault and battery, you may face a maximum sentence of two and a half years and a fine of up to $1,000. 

There are certain situations that warrant even more severe penalties. If the victim of the crime in question is a child, elderly, or law enforcement, for example, the stakes are much higher. Additionally, if a dangerous weapon was used in the crime, you may be charged with aggravated battery which can bring felony charges and lead to up to 10 years in prison. (1)

4. Only a lawyer experienced with assault and battery charges can provide you with a proper understanding

The only person who can help you fully understand your or a loved one’s legal situation and the possible penalties in your case is a qualified and experienced assault and battery lawyer. Make sure you confer with proper legal representation before you assume an understanding. 

If you or someone you love has been charged with assault and battery call 508-762-1397 today for a free consultation with our quality attorneys at Murphy & Rudolf, LLP.


  1. https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/assault_and_battery

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