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General Laws

Section 15A. (1) The penalty for violation of sections one and fifteen of this chapter shall be by fine or by imprisonment or by both fine and imprisonment as specified below.

(2) A person who abandons his spouse or minor child without making reasonable provisions for the support of either or both of them or who is subject to an order or judgment for support pursuant to chapters one hundred and nineteen, two hundred and seven, two hundred and eight, two hundred and nine, two hundred and nine C, two hundred and seventy-three, or two hundred and nine D, or pursuant to similar laws of other states, who, wilfully and while having the financial ability or earning capacity to have complied, fails to comply with that order or judgment, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than five years or by imprisonment in jail or 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.

(3) A person who leaves the commonwealth and goes into another state without making reasonable provisions for the support of a spouse or child, or who enters the commonwealth from another state without making reasonable provision for the support of a spouse or child domiciled in another state, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than ten years or by imprisonment in jail or the house of correction for not more than two and one-half years, or by a fine of not more than ten thousand dollars, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

(4) In a prosecution under this chapter, the court may, upon conviction of the defendant, provide for alternative sentencing including (a) the suspension of the sentence upon and during the compliance by the defendant with any order for the support as already made or as thereafter modified, or (b) notwithstanding the provision of section six of chapter two hundred and seventy-nine, the imprisonment of the defendant only on designated weekends, evenings or holidays, provided, that such defendant retains employment and complies with such support orders.

(5) In a prosecution under this chapter the defendant may be ordered to make restitution to the spouse or the custodial parent or to the person or agency, including the department of public welfare, who is supporting or has supported the spouse or child for all sums expended on behalf of such spouse or child, provided that if the defendant establishes a lesser ability to have provided support, the amount of any liability imposed by this section shall be consistent with the defendant’s prior ability to have paid support.

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