A general overview of domestic violence laws and how a domestic violence lawyer can help
In Massachusetts, domestic violence charges are taken seriously. Being found guilty of such charges can lead to jail time and/or significant financial penalties. If you or someone you love, has been charged with domestic violence, it’s crucial to find a capable and experienced domestic violence lawyer for your legal representation.
The Law Office of Keren Goldenberg has successfully defended clients facing domestic charges. If you are in the Lowell, Belmont, and/or the Greater Boston area, do not hesitate to contact Goldenberg’s office for a free consultation online or by calling: 617-431-2701.
We believe that the best way to defend yourself and protect your future is to be as informed as possible. This article serves as a bit of a contextual overview of domestic violence and how a domestic violence lawyer can help so that you can get a sense of what you or a loved one may be facing.
What constitutes domestic violence?
In Massachusetts, domestic violence is defined “as any type of criminal act of abuse that is committed by one member of a family or household directly against another.” Domestic abuse is not limited to just physical abuse. Charges can be based on sexual or psychological abuse as well. For example, the psychological abuse via the threat of a family member to commit violent acts does, of course, count as domestic violence.
More specifically, in addition to physical, sexual and psychological abuse, the following can also be considered forms of domestic violence:
- Economic abuse: The abuser makes or tries to make the victim financially reliant by way of controlling financial resources or access to funds.
- Emotional abuse: While psychological abuse is defined based on the threat, and thus the consequential fear of violence, emotional abuse is defined as invalidating or deflating the victim’s sense of self-worth and/or self-esteem.
- Stalking/Cyberstalking: The abuser spies, harasses, shows up uninvited at the victim’s home or work, or leaves written messages, to name a few examples. Individually the acts are typically legal, but any of these behaviors done continuously result in a stalking crime. Cyberstalking refers to online and digital forms of harassment and monitoring.
What are the criminal penalties?
The criminal penalties relating to domestic violence can vary. A domestic violence lawyer will best be able to define the range of penalties you or your loved one is facing, based on your context and the state you live in.
In Massachusetts, an individual found guilty of domestic violence on a family or household member can face the following criminal penalties:
- Up to two and a half years in a house of correction and/or a fine of up to $5,000 for a first offense.
- Up to five years in state prison or up to two and a half years in a house of correction for a subsequent offense.
- Completion of a certified batterer’s intervention program.
How can a domestic violence lawyer help?
In Massachusetts, the General laws themselves that, can be very confusing and convoluted to understand without legal support. A domestic violence lawyer, in part, will help their clients understand the laws and the relevant statutes as it applies to their case.
Specifically, a domestic violence attorney who is experienced and knowledgeable can help undermine the prosecution’s case. Keren Goldenberg has successfully defended her clients facing domestic violence charges by showing the court that the accusations were based on untruth, ulterior motives, or even that the alleged victim wished to dismiss the charges but was faced with an unresponsive prosecutor.
The most important thing is that you or your loved one find an aggressive legal representation as soon as possible. A proper legal defense is your best chance to successfully exonerate yourself from the criminal charges. If you are in or around Belmont or Lowell, MA, contact the Law Offices of Keren Goldenberg today for a free consultation, online or by phone: 617-431-2701.