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Assault With Intent to Murder and Assault With Intent to Kill

Assault with the intent to murder is prohibited by Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 265 Section 15. This law determines the penalty for the crime of assault with intent to murder or maim. A person who assaults another with intent to murder, disfigure, or maim (as described in Chapter 265 Section 14) will be sent to state prison for up to 10 years or pay as much as a $1000 fine and a jail sentence of 2½ years or less.

How Does the District Attorney Prove Assault with Intent to Murder or Assault with Intent to Kill in Massachusetts?

To convict someone of committing this crime the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant:

  1. Assaulted someone, and;
  2. That he did so with the specific intent to cause the death of the person assaulted.

The element of assault is satisfied by showing either an attempt to commit a battery or by putting someone in fear of immediate bodily injury. For a more complete understanding of these elements please refer to our assault page.

The intent to kill the person assaulted requires the district attorney to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant intended to kill the person. An intent to scare someone or an intent to cause serious bodily harm will not satisfy this element. For instance, if the defendant fired a gun in the direction of the victim for the purpose of threatening him or scaring him only he cannot be convicted for this crime. The crime of assault with intent to murder is very difficult for the prosecution to prove in Massachusetts. Rarely are convictions for this crime won by the prosecutor. As a matter of fact, even though this crime is charged frequently in Massachusetts prosecutors routinely agree to reduce or dismiss this offense once the defense lawyer becomes engaged in the case.

There is however a lesser included offense known as assault with intent to kill. Assault with intent to kill requires an assault, the intent to kill, and the heat of passion brought about by sudden or unexpected combat or understandable provocation.

What Are the Sentences I Am Facing for Assault with Intent to Murder or Kill in Massachusetts?

If these crimes are prosecuted in the Superior Courts there is a potential 10 year state prison sentence. If the prosecution chooses to prosecute these charges in the District Courts the maximum punishment is 2 ½ years in the county house of corrections. The crimes of assault, assault and battery and assault by means of a dangerous weapon can be considered lesser included offenses. If a jury finds you guilty of a lesser included offense you will likely be sentenced more leniently than if you have been convicted of the more serious crime.

The crimes of assault with intent to murder and assault with intent to kill are considered violent crimes. We have over 20 years experience defending these crimes in courts throughout Massachusetts. If you have been charged with one of these crimes or if you need to speak with an experienced Massachusetts Criminal Defense Lawyer call our office at 617-263-6800 or contact us online to discuss your violent crime case.

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