What Are the Penalties for Domestic Violence in Massachusetts?

by | Jun 1, 2022 | Criminal Defense

The penalties for a domestic violence charge in Massachusetts can range from probation to jail time. Similar to other charges, the penalties handed down by the court often vary based on the specific circumstances of the incident in question, as well as the defendant’s record or previous convictions.

If you have been charged with domestic violence in MA, and are looking for an attorney to handle your case, contact the office of John B. Seed today.

What Does Massachusetts Consider Domestic Violence

The most common domestic violence charge in MA is labeled as assault and battery on a family or household member. The state of Massachusetts characterizes a family or household member as a spouse (or former spouse), someone with whom you share a child, or someone with whom you have a substantial dating relationship.

Felony Vs. Misdemeanor

A domestic violence charge can either be a felony or a misdemeanor in Massachusetts. When reviewing your case, the court will decide on which to charge you with based on a few factors, such as your arrest record, prior domestic violence offenses, and the specifics of the assault.


Jail Time

Following the offense, the state of Massachusetts requires you to be held for at least six hours. Bail amounts can vary widely and will ultimately come down to whether or not the judge finds that the victim’s safety is at risk if the bail is posted. In some cases, the judge may find it necessary to call for a dangerousness hearing, which could see you held, without bail, for up to 120 days or until the date of the trial.

Prison Time

For a first offense, you may be sentenced to up to 30 months in prison or House of Corrections, whereas a second offense may be punished with up to five years in prison or a two and a half year sentence in the House of Corrections.


If you are found guilty of domestic violence in MA, you may be fined up to $5,000 in addition to all other penalties listed.

Other Penalties

It is important to note that being found guilty of domestic violence in Massachusetts can result in the loss of your right to own a firearm and affect your immigration status.

Defenses & The Importance of A Skilled Attorney

Being charged with domestic violence doesn’t automatically mean that you will be found guilty. There are many defenses to such a charge, and in the hands of an expert attorney, it is possible to win your case.

If you have been charged with domestic violence in MA, and are looking for a criminal defense attorney to assist you in building your case, contact the office of John B. Seed today.