The Lowell Sun reports that, a local teacher has been charged with assault by means of a dangerous weapon. The paper reports that the defendant allegedly intervened in a family fight between her husband and his brother who were in a heated argument. One of the individuals was reportedly holding his twenty two month old son at the time of the incident. The teacher plead not guilty in the Lowell District Court and was released on personal recognizance.
Although all of the facts are not known at this time, in these types of situations a defendant may have a viable claim of self defense or a claim of defense of another. In Massachusetts, a person is allowed to use reasonable force in self-defense when this is necessary to protect herself from physical harm. And therefore it is not a crime to strike at another person if this is done in reasonable self-defense. Similarly, an person can also use reasonable force to protect another from physical harm.
In Massachusetts, in addition to proving the elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, the Commonwealth must also prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was not acting in self defense. In order to prevail the government must prove that one or more of the following three requirements are absent:
First: For the defendant to have acted in self-defense, she must have reasonably believed that she was being attacked or was immediately about to be attacked, and that her personal safety was in immediate danger; and
Second: For the defendant to have acted in self-defense, she must have done everything that was reasonable in the circumstances to avoid physical combat before resorting to force;
Third: For the defendant to have acted in self-defense, she must have used no more force than was reasonably necessary in the circumstances to defend herself.
When a case involves a fight between family members it is often categorized as a case of domestic violence. Often, the prosecutor and the police recommend that the alleged victim obtain a restraining order. If you have been served with a restraining order you should contact an attorney to try to prevent the extension of the order. Although a restraining order is a civil order, if the complainant reports a violation you can be charged with a criminal offense.
Our Attorney has specialized in criminal law for over twenty years. She has successfully presented self defense and defense of another at trial and secured not guilty verdicts. If you have been charged with a crime contact Our Attorneyor call her and she will contact you as soon as possible.