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Important note: Although courts may be closed or accepting limited cases due to COVID-19, there should still be a way to file for a protection order and other emergency relief. See our Frequently Asked Questions Involving Courts and COVID-19, or call your local courthouse for more details.

Legal Information: Massachusetts

State Gun Laws

Updated: 
December 11, 2019

What is the definition of a felony?

Massachusetts state law defines a felony as a crime that is punishable by death or imprisonment in a state prison.1 Usually a prison sentence is for one year or more while a jail sentence is for less than one year. However, you cannot always tell if someone was convicted of a felony only by looking at the amount of time s/he actually served since sentences are often reduced or pled down. If you are unsure if the abuser was convicted of a felony, you might want to talk to the prosecutor who handled the criminal case against the abuser to find out or go to the courthouse and search the conviction records.

1 Mass. Gen. Laws 274 § 1