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Massachusetts Domestic Violence Defense: Not Just for Spouses

A Brockton women was recently jailed after an argument with her sister reportedly led to one slashing the other with a kitchen knife.

Our Massachusetts domestic violence defense lawyers can often help a defendant facing charges of assaulting a family member. Scant evidence can lead to an arrest — but whether you are convicted is another matter entirely.

While we typically think of domestic violence situations in terms of spouse-on-spouse, under Massachusetts General Law 209A, it can involve any family member or household member, and it includes violence against someone you may be dating or have dated.

Family or household member means:

1. Anyone to whom you are or were married;
2. Anyone with whom you are living in the same residence;
3. Anyone with whom you are related by blood or marriage;
4. Anyone with whom you have a child, regardless of whether you were ever married or in a long-term relationship with.

In some cases, an arrest will be made on the spot, while in others, officers will take more time to investigate and then return with a warrant to make an arrest. Regardless of the method, the end penalties are equally serious.

In this case, the sister who was slashed reportedly suffered minor injuries. No further details were given about the incident, as it is currently under investigation.

Domestic violence convictions are unique from other assault convictions because there is the potential to greatly disrupt your life, than a simple assault conviction. A conviction for domestic violence can impact not only your personal relationships, but potentially your professional relationships as well.

The alleged victim can also request an abuse protection order against you, which could prohibit you from all contact and even from being in certain places at certain times where it is likely the alleged victim might be. Violation of this order is considered an additional criminal offense.

With regard to your professional life, public employees are at particular are at risk. State employees, for example, are under a zero tolerance policy with regard to sexual assault and domestic violence. Executive Order 491, signed back in 2009, establishes that state employees can face disciplinary action from their employer if convicted of a domestic violence offense. This can range from an oral warning or reprimand to a suspension or even termination. This applies regardless of whether the alleged incident happened at work.

What’s more, the executive order allows that the employer can use a prior domestic violence conviction from within the last five years when deciding whether or not to hire a candidate. That’s a strike that many would-be employees can’t afford in this current economic climate.

Although the executive order only involves government employees, many companies have similar policies.

It’s not uncommon for disputes to arise among family members or those living in the same household. When police only have a limited amount of information to go on, they often get it wrong as to who was the aggressor or the exact facts of the case.

Simply pleading guilty to get it over with is not a smart move, and won’t help you put an unpleasant situation behind you any faster.

Offices conveniently located in Stoughton, Attleboro, New Bedford and Westborough.

Call (508) 455-4755 in Attleboro or (781) 686-5924 in Stoughton. Free Consultation 24/7.

Additional Resources:
Police: Woman stabs sister during argument in Brockton, By Maria Papadopoulos, The Enterprise

More Blog Entries:
Animal Cruelty Charges Result from Webster Domestic Violence Call, July 17, 2012, Massachusetts Domestic Violence Defense Attorney

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