Right of Self Defense in a Massachusetts Assault and Battery Charge

Self Defense is one of the most common defenses to an assault and battery charge in Massachusetts. When someone asserts the defenses of self-defense, the claim is that there was an unconsented to physical touching, which would be a push, a punch or a kick, but that it was justified because the alleged victim was the initial aggressor and the defendant used only enough force to protects against the danger created by the victim.

What types of issues arise when self-defense is raised at trial?

One issue that arises when self-defense is placed into issue at a trial is the background and criminal record of the alleged victim.

In any criminal trial for assault and battery, a defendant is entitled to learn about the extent to which the alleged victim has a criminal record. This is accomplished through a motion to the court for criminal records. What this allows is a Massachusetts Criminal Defense Lawyer to admit any convictions, pending cases or even dismissals on the victim’s record into evidence. A criminal defense lawyer gaining access to criminal records receives full access as would a police officer or the judge in the case.

This information helps to discover whether the alleged victim in the case has any prior violent acts. In a case called Commonwealth v. Adjutant, the highest court in Massachusetts, decided that a criminal defense lawyer is entitled to admit prior violent acts of the victim in an assault and battery case to prove who was the first aggressor in the case. The Court implemented some rules to guide how the evidence would come in; these rules are as follows:

  • That a Boston criminal defense attorney, disclose to the Commonwealth any intent to present evidence of prior violent acts; that it be done so in sufficient time before trial so that the Commonwealth can potentially rebut the evidence.
  • That the notice of the intent to rely on prior violent acts be listed on forms that are filled out prior to trial called a pretrial conference report.
In short, what I hope you understand about an assault and battery charge is as follows:
  • These cases can often be resolved short of trial;
  • The victim may have reasons they do not wish to testify.
  • You can assert the right of self-defense
  • The defense attorney should find out the criminal record of the victim and present evidence of the violent character of the victim at trial.
Want to learn more? To learn more about a domestic assault and battery charge in Massachusetts, you can call me directly at 781-686-5924. Related Questions
Client Reviews
★★★★★
Michael was very professional and explained the process clearly and told us to be patient. After one year the charges got dismissed in the trial. Excellent knowledge of the court systems in the area of Boston. Would highly recommend him
★★★★★
A careless decision on my part left me facing charges which would have severely hampered my ability to stay employed and support myself. But attorney DelSignore's skillful analysis and challenging of the evidence against me resulted in a conviction on a lesser charge. Now I'll be able to go on with my life, having learned a lesson I'll never forget. Thank you, Michael. Scott
★★★★★
Mike stuck with my case for 3.5 years and always kept me informed regarding the status. Ultimately, because of his due diligence, we ended up with an OUI not guilty verdict. This case could have gone many ways but his thorough review of the case and exceptional preparedness for trial ultimately drove a positive outcome. Thank you Mike! David
★★★★★
Michael DelSignore did an amazing job with my case! Either him or his partner Julie was always available to answer any questions I had and helped walked me through the entire process. I could not have done it without them! I highly recommend choosing this law firm to deal with your legal needs, you will not be dissatisfied. Ashley
★★★★★
I cannot express the gratitude towards both Michael and Julie for their amazing work and help. It was a very stressful event and they certainly put me at as much ease as possible. From start to finish it took 14 months and all the way through they were both very engaged with me. Today was worth the wait, Michael was great in court and I was rightfully found not guilty. I would recommend Michael and Julie over and over again. Claire
Contact Us for a Free Consultation
(508) 455-4755(781) 686-5924