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What is the Penalty for Assault and Battery with a Dangerous Weapon (ABDW) in Massachusetts?



Assault and battery with a dangerous weapon is a serious offense in Massachusetts that can carry jail time. A dangerous weapon can be almost anything - from a shoe to a knife.

Assault and battery with a dangerous weapon can be punished by up to two-and-a-half years in the house of corrections or up to 10 years in prison, depending on whether the Commonwealth chooses to indict you. This means the charge can be in either district court or superior court.


If you are charged with ABDW, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to coordinate your defense.


Assault and battery with a dangerous weapon requires proof that:

  • The defendant touched someone (however slight)

  • The touching was without the other person's permission

  • The defendant intended to touch the person (or was reckless)

  • The touching was done with a dangerous weapon.

A "dangerous weapon" can be almost anything. Courts have concluded that a hair brush, a large ring, aerosol spray, a car, a "shod foot" (a foot with a shoe on it), and even the sidewalk are dangerous weapons.


The only things that are certainly not dangerous weapons are parts of the human body, such as teeth or hands.

A Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer can help defend you if you're charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. I represent people charged with crimes in all Massachusetts courts, even though my office is located in Boston. Call me today at 617-356-8217, and let's get started on your defense.


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