Assault and Battery

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 265 Section 13A is the statute that makes assault and battery a criminal offense. There are three elements that the government has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt before one can be convicted of assault and battery:

  1. The defendant touched the person of another without excuse or right.

  2. The touching was intentional. An accidental or negligent touching is not enough. It must be proven that the defendant had a deliberate and conscious intent. However, the government does not have to prove that the defendant intended to hurt the other person.

  3. The touching was without the consent of the other person or the touching was likely to cause the other person bodily harm.

While these are the elements of an intentional assault and battery, assault and battery can also involve reckless actions that result in bodily injury. Assault and battery by reckless conduct involves the following two elements:

  1. The defendant intentionally engaged in some conduct that caused a bodily injury to another person. A trifling injury, such as one that causes brief discomfort, is not enough, but it does not have to be a permanent injury.

  2. The defendant’s actions were reckless. Recklessness is more than negligence. One acts recklessly if he or she knows or should know that an action is likely to cause substantial harm but takes the action anyway. If acts happened by accident, this element cannot be satisfied.

If it is proven that a defendant put another person in reasonable fear of an immediate attack, leading the other person to try to escape or defend himself, and the other person is hurt in doing that, the defendant can be convicted of assault and battery.


Assault and battery is punishable by up to 2 1/2 years in a house of correction or by a fine of up to $1,000.

Massachusetts Assault and Battery Defense Lawyer: (617) 973 5858

Robert J. Wheeler, Jr. is a criminal defense attorney who practices throughout all of Massachusetts. Over more than 30 years, Attorney Wheeler has successfully handled numerous assault and battery cases, and he is one of Boston’s best criminal lawyers. If you have been charged with assault and battery or if you have questions about any Massachusetts criminal matter, call the Law Office of Robert J. Wheeler, Jr. at (617) 973 5858 or contact Attorney Wheeler by sending an e-mail.