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Boston Criminal Defense Blog

Juvenile crimes: Police must use caution when questioning minors

Protecting your children's rights when the authorities suspect they have participated in juvenile crimes begins during questioning. According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the frontal lobes of a human being are the last areas of the brain to reach full maturity. As a result, youths are at risk of providing the authorities with a false confession when questioned under duress.

In addition to practicing law, our attorneys are parents who feel that protecting our children is the most important thing in the world. While we have the advantage of education, training and experience in defending those accused of juvenile crimes, we know that most of you do not. As such, a large part of our mission is providing advocacy when children in Massachusetts enter the juvenile justice system.

Criminal defense: Domestic violence claims can wreck your world

Unfortunately, domestic violence is a sad and tragic problem in all of the United States. Personal relationships are complex, with the power to bring many emotions -- some positive and some negative -- to the surface. Love, although sweet and joyful at times, can turn reasonable people into angry and violent individuals.

With that said, sometimes domestic violence allegations have no basis in fact. In these situations, it is one person's word against another's, and Massachusetts courts take a harsh stand against this form of violence. Defendants need legal assistance early on in a domestic violence case. In many instances, a criminal defense lawyer is the defendant's best hope to overcome these allegations.

What is the difference between assault and assault and battery?

Assault and assault and battery are both examples of violent crimes, but they are two distinct and separate offenses in the eyes of the law. Those with little or no experience in the legal system often confuse the two crimes. However, if you are facing either of these charges, it is critical to know the differences between them. This ensures that you take the proper steps to mount a solid defense.

A criminal defense attorney can explain the characteristics of the charges you face and aid you in choosing the right strategy for your defense. In the meantime, you can learn more about both of these violent crimes--and the consequences upon conviction--in the following sections.

What happens when juveniles violate a probation order?

At one time, Massachusetts law had a harsh approach to matters surrounding juvenile crimes. Young residents in legal trouble could expect harsh penalties if a court deemed it necessary. In recent years, Massachusetts reformed its juvenile justice system and successfully found ways to keep these youths out of jail and headed toward a brighter future.

Even though fewer young people now spend time behind bars in the state than in the past, probation is still a possibility for many juvenile offenders. While this is preferable alternative to jail time, it is not a pass. Those who are charged with juvenile crimes still have rules to follow during the probation period. One way to help teens comply with the terms of probation is make sure they know what might happen if they do not comply. When juveniles face accusations of a probation order violation, here is what to expect.

  • The probation officer provides juveniles with a notice stating that a hearing will occur.
  • This notice contains details about the violation as well as a hearing date.
  • A court may order incarceration at the time of the hearing, until another court date is set.
  • The second court date gives you and your juvenile a chance to build a defense to avoid jail time.
  • If the presiding judge rules that a probation violation occurred, your youth might suffer more serious penalties.

Have you considered the impact of a DUI conviction on insurance?

Everyone in Massachusetts who owns a vehicle must carry a minimum of auto insurance coverage. Depending on where you live, how much you drive and other factors, your rates could feel high.

If you thought your rates were high before, a conviction for driving under the influence could make your rates even higher and difficult to afford. This comes in addition to any penalties you may face under the criminal justice system and any repercussions in your personal and professional lives.

Can you get out of jail on bail after a domestic violence arrest?

Like all other states, Massachusetts takes a serious approach to violent crimes, including domestic assault, abuse and violence in general. In the interest of protecting other residents and the community at large, courts and judges work to keep some violent offenders away from the public. However, getting out on bail is possible in some domestic violence cases.

According to Mass.gov, a bail magistrate is responsible for making decisions about bail. The magistrate will look at several factors before deciding whether to release a violent crime defendant on bail. These factors include the following.

  • The possibility that you may try to flee from prosecution
  • If you are already on parole or probation
  • Whether or not you have a job
  • If you live in the area or have family in the area
  • Your previous arrests and criminal history
  • If you have an established history of not showing up for court dates
  • In cases of domestic violence, the magistrate must determine if your release will endanger alleged victims or other members of the community

Ways you could unknowingly be breaking Massachusetts alcohol laws

Massachusetts remains one of the puritanical states in the nation, even in these modern times. While many cities in the state have specific ordinances that govern what is and is not allowed in terms of alcohol, there exist many state laws that residents or visitors may unknowingly break. Violating any one of these laws may lead to unexpected criminal charges.

This blog post will explore some of these laws in the hopes of helping you avoid alcohol violations. If you ever do face an arrest for violating alcohol laws about which you knew nothing, please consider consulting with a criminal defense lawyer. Doing so could protect your reputation as well as your freedom.

  • A single customer may not order more than two drinks at a time in a bar. Even though it will be the establishment that ends up in the hot seat over this violation, it is still good to understand this law.
  • At this time, eight towns in the state entirely prohibit the sale of alcohol. As you might imagine, there is an excellent chance that if the police arrest you on alcohol charges in one of these towns, you could face severe consequences.
  • Only residents of the state can purchase alcohol in most cases. If the authorities catch you buying alcohol for someone without an acceptable form of identification, you may suddenly need to speak with a criminal defense attorney.
  • If you host a gathering and serve alcoholic beverages, you might face charges if a person drives away while intoxicated. The state's "social host law" will hold you legally accountable for the behavior of intoxicated guests, and that includes driving under the influence.

Does the state have diversion programs for juvenile offenders?

When teens face allegations involving juvenile crimes, most parents immediately become anxious about the outcome of the case. Depending upon the nature of the alleged crime, jail time may be one of many consequences if a conviction occurs.

For worried parents, time behind bars is the worst possible outcome for their kids. Jails house many different types of alleged criminals, most of whom are adults. As you might expect, no parent wants their teens mixing with older individuals accused of serious crimes. In some Massachusetts counties, a diversion program may be the answer parents and juveniles need.

Mental illness may have played a role in Boston jogging attack

Just a few days ago, a young Massachusetts woman was attacked while jogging on Boston's Esplanade. A short while later, a state police officer apprehended a 37-year-old man and took him into custody. There is little doubt in the minds of law enforcement that the defendant committed the attack. However, mental illness may be a factor in the violent crime.

The woman was jogging on the afternoon of June 28. The defendant allegedly approached her with a pair of scissors and used the item to stab her in the head. The defendant also allegedly tackled the jogger and struck her several times. He is facing a list of charges including:

  • Armed assault with intent to kill
  • Assault and battery with a dangerous weapon
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Resisting arrest

Did a valid prescription lead to a drug addiction?

People commonly receive prescription medications from their doctors for various reasons. Though the majority of people can take these prescriptions without any serious adverse effects, other parties may find themselves addicted to certain substances, especially those that are commonly misused.

You may have obtained a prescription medication and looked forward to using it because it would help address the condition with which you may have been struggling without medication. You may not have expected that the substance would later take control of your life.

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