According to an article in the MetroWest Daily News, a Shrewsbury, MA man threatened a McDonald’s employee earlier this week. The man was apparently a former employee of the McDonald’s, and went into the restaurant looking for the alleged victim with a crow bar in his hand. When the man saw the alleged victim, he reportedly attempted to go after him, however, two other employees blocked the man’s path before he was able to get to the alleged victim. The man then reportedly told the alleged victim that he would shoot him. After someone said that they were calling the police, the man left. When the police arrived, they spoke to the alleged victim who reported that he and the man used to be friends, but that their two respective girlfriends had “issues” that led the man and the alleged victim to be “enemies.” The police also spoke to the man, who acknowledged that he had tried to go after the alleged victim with the crow bar, and that he had threatened to shoot him, but explained that he had only done so because he owed the alleged victim money and was afraid that the alleged victim was going to physically harm him. The man was ultimately charged with: (1) assault and battery with a dangerous weapon; (2) threats to commit a crime; (3) and disorderly conduct. Of the three charges, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon is the most serious, as it is a felony and carries a significant potential jail sentence (up to two and a half years in the house of correction). Threats to commit a crime and disorderly conduct are both misdemeanors – threats carries a maximum penalty of six months in the house of correction and disorderly conduct carries only a fine. Fortunately for the man, he appears to have a defense to the charge of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. For the Commonwealth to prove that the man committed an assault and battery with a dangerous weapon under G. L. c. 265, § 15A, it would have to establish the following beyond a reasonable doubt: (1) that the man touched the alleged victim, however, slightly, without having any right or excuse for doing so; (2) that the man intended to touch the alleged victim; and (3) the touching was done with a dangerous weapon. Given the allegations as described, it seems unlikely that the Commonwealth will be able to establish the first element of the offense: that the man touched the alleged victim. To the contrary, by everyone’s account, the man was merely carrying the crow bar and never touched the alleged victim at any point. In light of the fact that there is no allegation of touching, the Commonwealth should not be able to establish the requisite battery. Although the man’s attorney could file a motion to dismiss this charge, if the motion were allowed, the Commonwealth could seek an additional complaint for assault with a dangerous weapon prior to the trial.
Whatever course of action may be best, the man will need an experienced attorney who is able to help him determine the best strategic approach. If you or a loved one has been charged with offenses that don’t accurately reflect the allegations, you will likewise need an attorney who knows the ins and outs of the legal system and who can properly advise you as to what defenses should be raised and when. Attorney Daniel Cappetta is such an attorney; he knows how to help you and your loved ones navigate through the criminal justice system. Call him for a free consultation today.