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Assault and Battery With a Dangerous Weapon Defense Lawyer

October, 2018

Lowell criminal defense attorney Ryan Sullivan recently represented a young man who was charged with committing an assault and battery with a dangerous weapon in the Lowell District Court. The case was prosecuted by the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office and investigated by the Chelmsford Police Department.


According to the police reports submitted in Court, a Chelmsford Police officer was dispatched to a mechanics garage for a minor motor vehicle crash. When he arrived he saw that two men were being separated by a group of other men and that one of the men had blood on his head and hands. The bloodied man claimed that Attorney Sullivan’s client had struck him in the head with a fire extinguisher after the two had exchanged punches following the minor collision.

The police spoke to the client who told them that the other man was grabbing him by the neck and he used the extinguisher in self-defense.

Police noticed there was very little (if any) damage to the trucks, and were unable to get a statement from the bloodied man who was transported to the hospital.


The charge of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon is a felony in Massachusetts, which in the Lowell District Court can be punished by up to two and a half years in jail.


After a thorough investigation and considerable preparation, the case proceeded to trial. At the trial, Attorney Sullivan attacked the credibility of the “victim,” who changed his story considerably when testifying, tried to refuse to answer several questions, and was caught in several blatant lies as a result of his desire for carrying out a personal vendetta. What Attorney Sullivan was able to elicit was that these two men were business competitors: a fact that was never told to the police during their investigation. Further, the man claimed that he had provided documents and evidence to the police — which was revealed to be yet another lie told by this person.

After successfully cross-examining the victim during the course of the trial, Attorney Sullivan was able to present evidence through the police officer about the statements and favorable evidence from Attorney Sullivan’s client to show that it was clear this was done in self defense.


Attorney Sullivan’s client was found not guilty at trial. He continues to have a clear record, can go on with his life, and continues to celebrate this positive result from a bad chapter in his life.


The strategy taken by Lowell assault and battery defense attorney Ryan Sullivan was to review the report, speak to witnesses, and go over potential defense testimony at length. Just a quick glance at the police report showed that the prosecutors were intending to claim that the client used excessive or unreasonable force to defend himself in this case. After being able to elicit the helpful points and point out the flaws in this theory, it was no surprise that the case ended in an outright acquittal and a very happy client.

Whether it is an allegation from a stranger, a road rage incident, or a case of domestic violence, if a weapon is involved, the police will bring charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. This charge (Chapter 265, section 15A of the Massachusetts General Laws) increases the penalty that you would face with a charge of assault and battery because using a weapon is a felony matter punishable by 10 years in state prison (or 2 1/2 years in the house of corrections) and/or substantial fines.

The dangerous weapon does not have to be one that is commonly thought of as “dangerous” or “deadly”. Rather, any object that is used in a way that is, or reasonably appears to be, capable of causing serious injury or death to another person is considered a dangerous weapon under the law. Any person who is accused of using an object, whether it is a pencil, a knife, or even a shoe, and they touch another person with that object, the police can enhance the charge of assault and battery and it becomes assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

Types of Assault and Battery by Means of a Dangerous Weapon (ABDW)

There are two types of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon: intentional and reckless ABDW.

  1. Intentional ABDW:
  2. As you may expect, a person who is armed with a dangerous weapon that touches another person with that “weapon” (not accidentally) can be found guilty of the charge. At trial, a jury will be told that a person normally intends the natural consequences of their actions. The prosecution will simply need to prove that the person wanted the weapon to harm the other party. A defense to this theory can be that the action committed was a mistake (or that it was done in self-defense).

  3. Reckless ABDW:
  4. The defense plan does not end there however. The prosecutor can attempt to prove this crime by demonstrating that the action performed was reckless instead of intentional. Basically, the jury would be told that if you knew or should have known your action could result in an injury to another person and you did it anyway, that you were being reckless. Reckless assault and battery with a dangerous weapon requires another element: actual injury. Although many people believe that you need to truly hurt someone to be guilty (or charged) with this crime, you can be arrested for ABDW even if no one was hurt. However, for you to be charged with reckless assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, some injury is required.

For example, if you pick up a rock and throw it, hitting another person, you may be charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. If on the other hand, you are casually throwing rocks over a tall fence and the rock hits someone, you can only be found guilty of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon if the rock caused an injury to that other person. The law recognizes that mistake doesn’t always mean that a crime was committed.

What to Do if You Are Charged With Assault and Battery With a Dangerous Weapon?

If you or a loved one is facing this charge, or any of the enhanced similar charges, you may wish to contact an experienced assault and battery with a dangerous weapon defense attorney.

Ryan Sullivan has successfully defended several of these cases using a variety of methods. Knowing the local prosecutors and judges, Ryan has been able to argue that charges should be lowered, has successfully demonstrated an argument of self-defense at trial, and has made other client-specific arguments to help his clients. To find out whether Ryan Sullivan is the right fit for your case, call or text (617) 997-7597, or contact us through the website to discuss your case and set up a free consultation.

Client Reviews

Great lawyer he has helped my family immensely. Very capable and dedicated. A lawyer who actually cares and an all around good person.


Ryan Sullivan is a very knowledgeable attorney. He is one of my go-to professionals when I am seeking insight on more complicated criminal matters. Without any reservations, he has my vote of confidence.

Ilya Liviz

Attorney Ryan Sullivan is professional, knowledgeable and compassionate.

Millie Cardello

My mom was involved in a horrible accident and we eventually found out she needed a lawyer. We had no idea who to contact and a mutual acquaintance recommended Attorney Ryan Sullivan. After our first meeting with Ryan we knew he was the attorney for our case. His communication and knowledge...

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