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Haverhill Massachusetts Woman Sentenced To Five Months For Assault And Battery By Means Of A Dangerous Weapon — Hot Coffee

A thirty-eight year old Haverhill Massachusetts woman, Dorothy Driscoll, will enjoy the summer at MCI Framingham following her conviction for assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon and shoplifting as the result of an incident at the Family Dollar Store located in New Hampshire. According to The Lawrence Eagle Tribune, Driscoll threw hot coffee in the face of an assistant store manager after attempting to steal several items from the store. Driscoll apparently admitted splashing the coffee in the employees face when she was confronted shortly after the incident. The Tribune reports that Driscoll punched a store clerk before she left the store leaving the items behind. Neither employee was seriously injured. Driscoll pleaded guilty in the Haverhill District Court and Judge Stephen Abany sentenced her to five months in jail. She received credit for twenty-nine days she served awaiting disposition.

In Massachusetts, the crime of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon is a felony. A felony is any crime where a defendant faces the possibility of serving a state prison sentence upon conviction. However, even though a defendant may face the potential of receiving a state prison sentence, there is often a jail or house of correction alternative. In addition to proving the elements for assault and battery, the Commonwealth must also prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the crime was committed with a “dangerous weapon” to prove the crime of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon. A dangerous weapon includes more than items that would routinely be considered dangerous such as a knife or a gun. A dangerous weapon can be an ordinary item that is used in a dangerous manner. For example, a cigarette that is used to burn a person or a shoe that is used to kick a person would be considered a dangerous weapons in Massachusetts.

Depending on the facts of the case, viable defenses to a charge of assault and battery and/or assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon include misidentification or self-defense or defense of another. In the event that a defendant asserts the defense of self-defense or defense of another, the burden is on the Commonwealth to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act in self-defense or in defense of another.


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