Assault on Family or Household Member
G.L. c. 265, § 13M
A person is charged with committing an assault upon a family or household member if either an attempted battery or an immediately threatened battery occurs. A battery is a harmful or an unpermitted touching of another person. So an assault can be either an attempt to use some degree of physical force on another person – such as throwing a punch at someone -or it can be a demonstration of an apparent intent to use immediate force on another person – such as coming at someone with fists flying.
- A person may be convicted if the Commonwealth can prove either forms of assault.
- Practice Notes
- Attempted battery requires the Commonwealth to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the person intended to commit a battery – a harmful or unpermitted touching – upon the alleged victim and took some overt step towards accomplishing that intent, and came reasonably close to doing so. It is not necessary for the Commonwealth to show that alleged victim was put in fear or was even aware of the attempted battery.
- An immediately threatened battery requires the Commonwealth to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the person intended to put the alleged victim in fear or an imminent battery, and engaged in some conduct towards the alleged victim which the alleged victim reasonably perceived as imminently threatening a battery.
- Additionally, the Commonwealth must be able to prove that the two persons were family or household members under the law.
- A family or household member is defined as two persons who are or were married to each other, have a child in common, or are or have been in a substantive dating or engagement relationship