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Assault, sometimes called simple assault, is governed by Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 265 Section 13A. It is a misdemeanor carrying a maximum penalty of 2.5 years in a house of corrections or a fine of up to $1,000.
The definition involves another charge: an assault is either an attempted battery or an immediately threatened battery. This means assault is either an attempt to use physical force on another person (like throwing a punch, even if it doesn’t hit) or an apparent attempt to use physical force on another person (like coming at them swinging).