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Boston Criminal Defense Blog

Know your Sixth Amendment rights when accused of a violent crime

Being accused of, or charged with, committing a violent crime is arguably the most traumatic event a person can face. Such charges put not just your freedom, but also your entire way of life, at risk. You will want to do everything possible to fight these charges.

Your first important step after an arrest on charges associated with violent crimes is to seek qualified legal representation. However, for your protection, it is also wise to learn about your rights under the U.S. Constitution's Sixth Amendment. Most of us know a little bit about these rights from our time in school. However, as a defendant, knowing them and truly comprehending them might be two entirely different things.

Drug offenses and their consequences in Massachusetts

Lawmakers in the state of Massachusetts are typically slow to embrace the rest of the nation's tolerance attitude toward some substances. For example, the possession of marijuana can still land you in seriously hot water if you have not acquired a criminal defense attorney.

Still, even Massachusetts lawmakers cannot deny that possessing weed is far from the worst crime ever committed. As such, you might escape severe consequences if the authorities catch you with marijuana. Below you will find the most up-to-date information regarding cannabis possession and other drug charges. This information can help you when you and your lawyer are creating your criminal defense after an arrest.

A DUI breath test, do I have to take it when asked?

Knowing what your rights are if you ever get pulled over because police suspect you of driving under the influence of alcohol is important. When confronted by law enforcement officials, it is easy to get flustered and say or do things that may not serve your best interests. Let's look at the breath test just as an example. Do you have to take it? What happens if you do or don't?

Like most people, you probably believe that complying with the police is the best thing you can do when pulled over. This is true, to a point. You do have rights, and you can say no to certain officer requests. The breath test is one of those things you can refuse if you want to -- unless police obtain a warrant, then you must comply. Just understand that in Massachusetts, just as in other states, there are consequences for doing so.

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.
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