A Haverhill Massachusetts man, Michael Donnelly, was arrested and charged with assault and battery at 3:15 in the morning, released and rearrested for the same offense at 11 a.m.. According to The Lawrence Eagle Tribune the police were called to the Haverhill home twice in a short time span because of a fight with his girlfriend and a "violent outburst." Donnelly appeared in the Haverhill District Court where the Assistant District Attorney requested that he be held on $3,000.00 cash bail. Judge Stephen Abany declined to set the bail that high but held the defendant on $450.00 cash bail. The Tribune reported that the defendant claimed that the disagreement stemmed from the fact that he wanted to end the relationship with the complaining witness.
Although all of the facts of the case are not known at this time, in these types of cases there are many ways that an experienced Boston area defense attorney can build a defense. One area that must always be examined is whether a defense of self-defense or defense of another is viable. In the event that there was an altercation in which both parties sustained injuries, a self-defense theory must be explored. In the event that self-defense or defense or another is presented during a trial, the Commonwealth must not only prove beyond a reasonable doubt the assault and battery but must also prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act in self-defense or in defense of another.
These types of cases are often referred as “domestic violence” cases. In addition to facing criminal charges, a defendant may also have to oppose the issuance of a restraining order. In situations where the parties have a “substantial dating relationship,” are family members or roommates a complainant may apply for a “209A” restraining order. In the event that the plaintiff can establish that a defendant’s actions put him or her in reasonable apprehension of immediate physical harm a judge may grant the order. Keeping in mind that at the time an initial order is granted a judge only hears one side of the story, the order often issues at the outset. Typically, a return date is given and at that time the defendant or opposing party will have the opportunity to present his or her side of the story. A defendant opposing a 209A restraining order MUST be mindful that anything he or she states during the civil restraining order hearing may be used against him or her during the criminal prosecution. Thus, depending on the circumstances, it may not always be wise for the defendant to speak in open court but have an experienced domestic violence lawyer speak on his or her behalf.