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Boston Criminal Defense Blog

It is critical to act fast following a juvenile arrest

Youths under the age of 18 have not yet developed the skills necessary to navigate adult life. Unfortunately, this often means that juveniles run the risk of making poor decisions that could land them in legal trouble. In some cases, kids can get out of this trouble with nothing more than a firm (yet frightening) slap on the wrist. Other times, however, an arrest on juvenile crimes could lead to incarceration without a proper defense.

We have heard many people insist that juveniles require punishment for their criminal actions. As defense attorneys, we do not necessarily disagree with this statement. After all, holding offenders responsible for their actions can teach them that there are always consequences for unwanted behaviors. However, we also believe that most juvenile crimes require an approach other than incarceration.

Do you have to take a walk-and-turn test in Massachusetts?

Nothing can put a damper on a nice evening out with friends quite like having to pull over for a traffic stop when you see red and blue flashing lights in your rear-view mirror. The Massachusetts police officer who approaches your driver's side window may already suspect you of a crime by the time he or she speaks to you.

If one of the first questions is a request for you to step out of your vehicle, you can bet your bottom dollar that the officer thinks you are on drugs or alcohol. While it's always best to be polite and to cooperate as much as possible, you have rights in such situations, and the more you know about those rights ahead of time, the likelier you'll be able to mitigate your circumstances. 

Make sure your rights remain protected upon an arrest

Even relatively minor criminal convictions have a way of haunting your life long after you have fulfilled any sentence handed down by a court. Examples include first-time drunk driving convictions and convictions for simple possession of substances like marijuana. Along with gaining a criminal record and possibly losing your freedom, you may also suffer basic rights' violations in some arrest situations.

In our criminal defense practice, we have served many defendants in the Franklin region of Massachusetts. We have discovered that very few of them understand what rights they have upon arrest. In fact, many defendants believe that they lost their rights the moment the arrest occurred. As you may expect, not knowing about your rights means that you will likely not recognize it if they are violated in any manner.

What are the state's possible sentences for assault convictions?

Many defendants enter the Massachusetts criminal justice system without much legal knowledge about the violent crimes surrounding their arrests. As such, they are vulnerable to unfair treatment in the court as well as civil rights violations. Having a defense attorney represent and protect your interests during all legal proceedings can help you avoid these pitfalls.

Developing an understanding of the violent crimes for which the state accuses you is also beneficial. For example, initial charges of assault or assault and battery could mean up to 2.5 years behind bars along with a hefty fine. However, if an investigation warrants it, a simple assault arrest may evolve into more serious violent crime allegations and charges. As you may expect, worsened charges mean worsened consequences as well.

How are status offenses different from juvenile crimes?

An important part of the juvenile justice system involves preventing youths from continuing to engage in unlawful behaviors. This is important because early preventative actions deter teens from repeatedly getting into trouble with the law. Most parents in Massachusetts agree that protecting youths from convictions for juvenile crimes is critical in raising productive, law-abiding citizens.

Charging a teen for status offenses is a way for law enforcement to hold young people responsible for their actions without labeling them as criminals. In other words, teens can be held accountable without having a criminal record that will haunt them for years to come. Examples of status offenses, as opposed to punishable juvenile crimes, include the following.

  • Possessing and/or consuming alcoholic beverages
  • Truancy, which is also known as unexcused time away from school
  • Breaking local curfews designed to keep youths off the street at night
  • Purchasing tobacco products such as cigarettes

Your conduct after an arrest could help or hurt your case

Regardless of the charges you face, it is important to remain on your best behavior following an arrest. We know how tempting it is to lash out at the officers arresting you, especially if you are innocent. However, giving in to extreme emotion is nearly always a terrible idea. In truth, doing so may hurt your chances of developing a solid criminal defense in the long run.

For example, many Massachusetts residents believe an arrest for operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs is not a serious event. As such, they may not realize that any poor behavior displayed after the arrest could worsen the situation. We are criminal defense lawyers concerned about preserving the rights of defendants. With this in mind, we want to share four good behavior tips that may prevent you from worsening your case.

  • Exercise your right to remain silent, but do so politely and with respect
  • Avoid physical altercations with police officers as well as booking personnel
  • Do not resort to name-calling or other emotional outbursts to express your frustration
  • Insist on contacting a criminal defense attorney, but do so calmly

What does ketosis have to do with a DUI breath test?

The keto diet has become quite popularly recently. The theory is that eating a high-fat, low-carb diet will force your body into burning its own fat. This happens when your body goes into "ketosis."

You will find proponents and opponents alike regarding this eating plan if you research it. You may find it beneficial for losing weight, but what you may not know is that a potentially serious downside exists.

What do murder, manslaughter and voluntary manslaughter mean?

When it comes to the most serious violent crimes -- those that result in the loss of life -- the language surrounding these offenses may confuse defendants. While all allegations involving violent crimes require a serious approach to defense, it is important for defendants to understand exactly what the charges against them mean. The following sections include brief overviews of three serious charges: murder, manslaughter and voluntary manslaughter.

As you might expect, murder charges can mean defendants will face the most severe consequences if convicted. What separates murder from other crimes resulting in the loss of life is premeditation or planning to kill another person. For example, when someone spends days, weeks or months planning out how to kill someone else, the defendant will likely face murder charges.

Common offenses that could send your teen to court

As children grow into young adults, they often begin experimenting with what they perceive as grownup behaviors. Unfortunately, many of these activities are illegal both for children and for adults. While kids will certainly be kids, engaging in juvenile crimes can send them down a troubled path. Even worse, it is sometimes difficult for these youths to deviate from this path once they have been processed through the legal system.

Moving smoothly into adulthood is difficult enough for Massachusetts teens without having one or more black marks against them. Making a few youthful mistakes should not continue to affect the lives of young adults when they reach maturity. As such, it is wise for parents to get involved right way if their teens face charges for juvenile crimes. Contact a defense lawyer early on so that you can protect your children from the long-lasting effects of the following common criminal charges.

  • Offenses involving theft
  • Vandalism or graffiti charges
  • Disorderly conduct or fighting
  • Offenses involving alcohol
  • Offenses involving marijuana or other illegal substances
  • Traffic offenses
  • Weapons charges
  • Assault, battery or bullying
  • Trespassing onto private or public property
  • Burglary or breaking and entering

Violent crimes: Exercising your Miranda rights

Most Americans agree that the Miranda warning is a simple yet valuable concept that can protect them from aggressive interrogation techniques. However, many people arrested or questioned in connection with violent crimes do not exercise their Miranda rights effectively.

As defense attorneys, we would like to make sure everyone in Franklin, Massachusetts, knows how to use the Miranda warning. When facing allegations that you participated in violent crimes, these rights might save you from a wrongful arrest or a wrongful conviction. The Miranda warning's purpose is to ensure that you understand two fundamental rights set forth in the Fifth and Sixth Amendments. These are:

  • The right not to say anything that will incriminate you, which is also known as the right to remain silent.
  • The right to defend yourself, which is also known as the right to have a lawyer present during talks with police.
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