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What Happens if I am Charged With Domestic Assault and Battery for Striking a Child?

In Massachusetts, a parent CAN be charged with assault and battery for striking their child. A Domestic Assault and Battery is the unconsented touching of any family member, including a child. However, there is a parental exception for an Assault and Battery that happens to a child under limited circumstances.

Many parents recall receive spankings or discipline from their parents that was never criminally punished. But if the police are brought to a residence for a report of Assault and Battery on a child, the police will certainly make an arrest in many cases as the police department policies require an arrest always be made with any domestic disturbance report.

In court, the parent may be able to assert a parental privilege as a defense.

What is Parental Privilege?

Parental privilege in an Assault and Battery involves the following as a defense:

  • That the force used against the child is reasonable.
  • The force is reasonably related to the purpose of safeguarding or promoting the welfare of the minor,
  • including the punishment or prevention of the minor’s misconduct
  • The force used neither causes or creates substantial risk of causing physical harm beyond fleeting pain or minor transient marks. The law also defines “substantial risk of causing harm” as degredation or mental stress.

The burden is on the government just like in proving a self defense. Meaning they must prove that one of these three prongs do not apply beyond a reasonable doubt. So if you are a parent charged with Domes- tic Assault and Battery and the alleged victim is your child, you may have a parental priviliege to ascertain as a defense. This is often a question of fact for a jury.

If you have any questions about a Domestic Assault and Battery charge. You can call Attorney Delsignore directly at 781-686-5924.

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 Ashwani
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! He 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 Michael for his 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 over and over again. Claire