Indecent Assault and Battery in Massachusetts

The Accusation Alone is Devastating. We Can Help.

Indecent A&B Criminal Defense Attorney

We all generally understand that an  Assault & Battery is simply an intentional touching of another person, without legal justification or excuse.   What makes an assault "indecent" is not subject to a single definition (although it is often obvious), and is described in the law as one that is "fundamentally offensive to contemporary standards of decency." 

In most cases, indecent assault and battery involves the touching portions of the anatomy commonly thought private, such as the breasts, abdomen, buttocks, thighs, and pubic area.  It may also include other parts of the body — whether clothed or unclothed — that, if intentionally and unjustifiably touched, would violate our "contemporary views of personal integrity and privacy."  

An indecent act can also include those where a defendant directs or commands the alleged victim to touch themselves, a private part of the defendant or another person, or the victim themselves, as well as  where a defendant touches the alleged victim with the defendant's own private part.

There is also a difference between committing the offense against a person over the age of 14, and a person under the age of 14.

Indecent Assault & Battery on a Person 14 or Older

Pursuant to G.L. c. 265, § 13H , to prove the defendant guilty of indecent assault and battery on person fourteen or older, the Commonwealth must prove three things beyond a reasonable doubt:

First: That the defendant committed an assault and battery on the alleged victim;

Second: That the assault and battery was “indecent”; and

Third: That the alleged victim did not consent to the alleged indecent assault and battery.

Indecent assault and battery is not what the law refers to as a "specific intent crime" and therefore need not have been done for the purpose of sexual gratification or arousal.  It is the act itself which the law prohibits, not the motivation thereof.

A conviction in Massachusetts of Indecent A & B on a Person over 14  carries with it a potential sentence of up to five years in state prison or two and one-half years in the house of correction.

If the assault was committed against an elderly or disabled person, the potential punishment becomes ten years in state prison and a subsequent offender is looking at up to 20 years.

Indecent Assault & Battery on a Child Under Age of 14

G.L. c. 265, § 13B governs Indecent Assault & Battery on a Child Under Age of 14 and is identical to simple Indecent A&B, except that the government must prove that, at the time of the offense, the alleged victim had not yet 14 years of age, and does not have to prove that the alleged victim did not consent to the alleged indecent assault and battery.  

It is irrelevant whether or not the alleged victim consented to any touching because the statute provides that "[i]n a prosecution under this section, a child under the age of fourteen years shall be deemed incapable of consenting to any conduct of the defendant for which said defendant is being prosecuted.”

A conviction in Massachusetts of Indecent A & B on a Person under 14  carries with it a potential sentence of up to ten years in state prison or two and one-half years in the house of correction.

Even the accusation of an indecent assault and battery is damaging and your reputation, your family, your living and possibly your freedom are on the line.  In many cases, a conviction carries not only prison, but also  registration as a sex offender.    

Free Consultation on Any Massachusetts Indecent A&B Charges

If you would like to speak about your case and get an expert opinion, please call or text us at any time at 617-723-4163, email at inquiry@equitas.law or use our contact form, above.  We will listen to the facts of your case, address your concerns and let you know what your options are.

The initial consultation is free and there is no pressure to hire.  If you choose to hire us, we will give you a reasonable fee agreement, including possible payment options.

Criminal Defense FAQ

We Hope This Helps!

As a criminal defense lawyer, the fact that you clicked this accordion drives me crazy!

NO, you shouldn't! At least not without a lawyer after careful consideration.

Think about it. The police have a job, which is to solve crimes and bring criminal charges. The only reason for them to call you is because they are looking for evidence and there is no better evidence than your statement. Very often, they are calling you because they don't have enough evidence to charge you yet and they're looking to make their case with your statements.

They are not your friends. They are not trying to help you. There is nothing to "clear up". They will not go away if you just admit it and take responsibility.

Seriously, don't speak to the police without consulting a criminal defense lawyer first. It may be that we ultimately decide to give a statement, but only if it will help your case and after careful consideration!

First, unless you have committed a very serious crime, the chances of you going to jail are minimal (especially if you hire a good attorney). In any event, this is not something that typically would happen until many months down the road.

We're not going to lie to you, if the prosecution can meet the burden of proof on your case, there will be consequences, ranging from a slap on the wrist to jail time. Our job is to minimize the consequences and to eliminate them, if possible.

Of course, this depends on the charges, your criminal history and many other factors, so please feel free to reach out and we can give you a more specific answer.

No, no, no, no no! Even if you decide to eventually take responsibility, your lawyer should negotiate the best deal possible. What this means depends entirely the circumstances of your criminal charge, but very often you can take responsibility and still avoid a permanent criminal record. It may also involve:

  • Pre-Trial Probation or Pre-Trial Diversion
  • An outright Dismissal of your charges upon payment of court costs
  • A Continuation Without a Finding, including the length and terms of your probation (after which the case is dismissed)
  • A period of straight probation without a jail or state prison sentence
  • A suspended sentence, where a sentence is imposed, but not served unless probation is violated
  • A lesser sentence to jail or prison and less severe conditions upon release

This is to say nothing of the fact that your case may be winnable on a motion to dismiss or at trial!

In many cases, yes. Some cases have issues that may justify a Motion to Suppress or a Motion to Dismiss for lack of evidence.

Others can and should be taken to trial, or call for a plea as soon as possible so the client can move on with their life.

The decision on what to do really depends on the facts of the case and your individual goals.

This is why it is important to speak to an experienced Massachusetts criminal attorney who can quickly evaluate your specific case to see if there are any issues worth pursuing.

Related Content:

Strategy and Potential Issues in Massachusetts Criminal Cases

As a criminal defense lawyer, the fact that you clicked this accordion drives me crazy!

No, do NOT talk to the police without a lawyer. They are not your friends. They are not trying to help you. They will not go away if you just admit it and take responsibility.

Their job is to gather evidence of crimes and there is no better evidence than your statement.

It may be that we ultimately decide to give a statement, but only if it will help your case and after careful consideration!

It is very possible that you can avoid a criminal record, especially if you don't have a significant criminal history and and it is a relatively minor offense.

The answer to this question is very case-specific, depending on the facts of your case and what we decide to do with it.

A vast majority of our criminal cases cases are handled on a flat fee basis, ranging from a clerk-magistrate's hearing to superior court or federal court cases.

All we can tell you is that we are always up front and honest, and will treat you fairly. We're also willing to work with you on payments if we can, as this is not all about the money.

Of course, it is prefereable to have an attorney at the arraignment, but don't panic! First, you can call or text me at any time and I may be able to be there. If not, take a look at this link for all the information you need:

Arraignment in Massachusetts – What You Need to Know.

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