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Massachusetts G.L. c. 265 § 13(K): Assault and Battery Upon an Elderly or Disabled Person

The offense of assault and battery on an elderly or disabled person is governed by Massachusetts General Laws chapter 265 section 13K and provides significantly enhanced penalties then that of a simple assault and battery offense.

The statute defines these protected classes of individuals as follows:

An elderly person is any individual sixty years of age or older.

A disabled person is any person with a permanent or long-term physical or mental impairment that prevents or restricts the individual’s ability to provide for his or her own care or protection.

The statue further provides that:

“Whoever commits an assault and battery upon an elder or person with a disability shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 3 years or by imprisonment in a house of correction for not more than 21/2 years, or by a fine of not more than $1,000, or both such fine and imprisonment.”

Whoever commits an assault and battery upon an elder or person with a disability and by such assault and battery causes bodily injury shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than five years or in the house of correction for not more than two and one-half years or by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars or by both such fine and imprisonment. 

Whoever commits an assault and battery upon an elder or person with a disability and by such assault and battery causes serious bodily injury shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than ten years or in the house of correction for not more than two and one-half years or by a fine of not more than five thousand dollars or by both such fine and imprisonment.

In order to be convicted under this statute the Commonwealth must prove several elements beyond a reasonable doubt.

  1. The Defendant touched an elderly or disabled person;
  2. The Defendant intended this touching;
  3. The touching was either likely to cause bodily harm or was offensive; and
  4. The alleged victim was an elderly or disabled person as defined by the statute at the time of the offense.

A touching may be any physical contact, however slight, but it must be done intentionally and not by mere accident or negligence.

A person may also be convicted under this statute by means of a reckless assault and battery. Under these circumstances a defendant may be found guilty of this offense if the Commonwealth proves three things:

  1. The Defendant intentionally engaged in actions that caused injury to another individual;
  2. The Defendants actions amounted to reckless conduct; and
  3. The alleged victim was an elderly or disabled person as defined by the statute at the time of the offense.

Penalties:

The potential punishments for the assault and battery on an elderly or disabled person as provided by G.L. c. 265 section 13k vary based on a variety of factors.

A person convicted of this offense where the offense did not result in injury to the victim may face up to 3 years in state prison or 2 ½ years in the house of correction, or a fine of not more than $1,000 or both a fine and imprisonment.

A person convicted of this offense where bodily injury resulted will face may be punished by imprisonment in state prison for not more than 5 years or house of correction for not more than 2 ½ years, or by a fine of not more than $1,000.

If convicted of this offense where serious bodily injury resulted may face up to 10 years in state prison or up to 2 ½ years in the house of correction and a fine of not more than $5,000.

Similarly, if the defendant convicted under this statute shared a special relationship to the victim, such as being a caretaker for the elderly or disabled person this might also result in enhanced sentencing and punishment for wanton or reckless conduct.

Defenses:

As with any assault and battery offense, the defenses to a charge under G.L. c. 265 s. 13K will vary depending on the facts of the case and may involve challenging whether or not the alleged victim qualifies as an elderly or disabled person, or whether or not an intentional touching occurred; it may also be important to challenge the extent of the injuries sustained by the victim to avoid enhanced sentencing penalties.

A criminal law attorney experience in defending assault and battery cases can help you explore your defenses and receive the best possible disposition for such an offense.

Massachusetts Assault and Battery Attorney (617) 263-6800 

Attorney Stephen Neyman represents individuals charged with various assault and battery offenses throughout the state of Massachusetts. Attorney Neyman has decades of experience defending against these types of charges and is a fierce advocate who will help you achieve the best possible outcome for your case. Call Attorney Neyman’s office at (617) 263-6800 or send him an e-mail today.

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