FAQ: Assault Charges in Western Massachusetts
While assault charges generally relate to the threat of violence to another person, battery charges, on the other hand, indicate the "harmful or offensive" contact to another person without his or her consent.
Our attorneys are often asked questions about assault. Here are the answers we come up with on a routine basis:
Q: Is assault a misdemeanor or felony?
A: The severity of any injury involved in the case or whether any weapons were involved are the factors that help law enforcement determine whether to pursue either a misdemeanor or a felony charge.
Q: What if I was approached by the other person first and I was just trying to defend myself?
A: A person accused of assault and battery may have acted in self-defense, in defense of others, or to prevent a crime from being committed. That's why retaining the services of former prosecuting attorneys — who know how the district attorney's office handles cases like these — can be helpful.
Q: Are there different types of assaults or batteries?
A: Yes. The charges could be aggravated, indecent or vehicular in nature. They could be upon children, with a dangerous weapon, with the intent to commit a crime, or upon elderly, retarded, or very young people — each carrying enhanced and unique punishments of their own.
Q: What if the allegations are completely false — I'm being pictured as a bad person for no reason other than somebody who is trying to "get even" with me. Is this common?
A: When people are involved in divorce proceedings, custody disputes or a breakup, they sometimes try to retaliate and use the criminal process as a sword — rather than a shield. By hiring an aggressive legal team to prepare a vigorous defense strategy, the truth will eventually come out.
Q. What is a CWOF?
A: A continuance without a finding, commonly referred to as a "CWOF," is neither a finding of guilt nor innocence. It's part of a plea bargain; in layperson's terms, it means an acknowledgment that the government has enough evidence to find some level of guilt, but agrees to hold the matter "open" (not act upon the matter) for a short period of time so long as you comply with certain conditions (take some classes, pay a small fine, etc.) and refrain from having any further charges filed against you.
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