Criminal Defense Attorney

 If you are charged with a sex offense, there are many potential consequences beyond a criminal sentence.  For instance, if you are convicted of a sex offense and placed on probation, not only are you facing the conditions of GPS monitoring and sex offender counseling, but you will also likely have to register with the sex offender registry board.

The sex offender registry board will give you a preliminary classification as either a level 1, 2, or 3 offender, with the option to challenge such designation at a hearing before an examiner.  If given a level 3 classification, your personal information, including home address will be actively disseminated by the board and police.

A further consequence of a guilty finding on a sex offense is the potential to be committed to the Massachusetts treatment center as a sexually dangerous person.  In such a proceeding, if the district attorney petitions the Superior Court to hold someone as a sexually dangerous person and the court agrees, that individual is confined until a trial may be held to determine such person’s status.  If found to be sexually dangerous after trial, the you can be held at the Massachusetts Treatment Center in Bridgewater from one day to life.

With such significant collateral consequences flowing from a conviction for a sex offense, it is important to hire a criminal defense attorney with knowledge of the sex offense laws.  Don’t wait until it’s too late, make the call today.

Criminal Attorney

If you are a passenger in a stopped motor vehicle, there are three scenarios in which an order by the police to exit the vehicle is justified.  First, an exit order is justified if a reasonable person in the officer’s position would be warranted in the belief that the safety of the police or the public was in danger.  Second, if the police develop reasonable suspicion that the passenger was engaged in criminal activity separate from any offense of the driver, an exit order is justified.  Third, the police can order a passenger out of a vehicle based on probable cause to search the vehicle under the belief that the vehicle contains evidence of a crime.

As to the safety basis for a motor vehicle exit order, the court will look to whether the passenger is reaching under the seats of the passenger compartment, whether that person is cooperate, as well as the likelihood that the person’s actions are consistent with reaching for a weapon.

Additionally, if the police believe based on objective facts that the passenger is engaged in criminal activity, that person may be removed from the vehicle.  For instance, if the police approach a motor vehicle and observe cocaine within the possession of a passenger, that person may be removed immediately.

Finally, an exit order is justified if the police have probable cause to believe that the vehicle contains evidence of a crime.  For example, if the police observe cocaine within the motor vehicle, and not specifically within the possession of any one individual, the police may order the passengers out of the motor vehicle.

As a result, if you are ordered out of a motor vehicle and charged with a crime, contact a criminal attorney today who will fight for you and your rights.  Just because you were ordered out doesn’t mean that it was legally justified.

DUI Attorney

Many of you have commented on the story of the Fitchburg DUI suspect who is alleged to have repeatedly state to the police officer that “he was drunk”, and that both “knew that the suspect was drunk.”  Under Massachusetts law, statements that are volunteered by those suspected of criminal activity, without any interrogation by the police are admissible, if they are voluntarily made.

This begs the question of what does it mean to be voluntary?  A statement is voluntary if it is the product of a rational intellect, and it is not made because of coercion or impairment due to the consumption of alcohol or drugs.

The problem with arguing that a statement is involuntary due to alcohol or drugs in a DUI case is the fact that the motion affidavit will have to acknowledge that the person charged was under the influence of either substance.  Unless the defense is involuntary consumption of either alcohol or drugs, this may help in the battle against the statements, but will likely prove detrimental to the overall case.

With this in mind, if you or someone you know is charged with DUI, contact a DUI Attorney who will fight for you and who will argue to keep statements out.  Don’t wait until it’s too late, there is no time like the present.

Criminal Law Attorney

If you are on probation in Massachusetts state court, and you are charged with a violation, here are a few things to consider.  First of all, the standard of proof for the probation department to proceed on is much less than that required for a conviction after trial.  The standard is whether there is probable cause to believe there is a violation, and if a violation is found, the court will determine the appropriate sentence.

The sentence options for a violation will depend on the underlying disposition.  For example, if a jail sentence is suspended, and the court wants to impose incarceration, then the suspended sentence will be imposed on that count.  Similarly, if the disposition was straight probation, the court can impose up to the maximum sentence allowed under that statute.

Similarly, if you are on probation under numerous counts or indictments, then the court may give you a sentence on each count, and the sentences may be run consecutively.  As a result, agreeing to probation as part of a criminal disposition on the underlying case may seem like a good idea at the time, but it is not without inherent risk.

With this in mind, if you or someone you know is facing a probation violation in either district or superior court, contact a criminal law attorney who will fight for you.  Don’t wait until it’s too late.

Defense Lawyer

Under Massachusetts law, the odor of burnt marijuana alone does not provide sufficient suspicion of criminal activity to justify an order to exit a motor vehicle.  This is based on the fact that the possession of an ounce or less of marijuana is a civil infraction.

What is important to remember is that in order to require occupants of a motor vehicle to exit based on the odor of marijuana, there must be probable cause to believe that a criminal amount is present within the vehicle.   It seems implausible, however, to believe that a law enforcement officer will be able to tell that there is greater than an ounce of marijuana in a vehicle based on odor alone.

An order for an occupant to exit a stopped motor vehicle based on marijuana possession or usage may also formed by an objective belief that the occupants of the vehicle possess marijuana with the intent to distribute it, or that the operator is under the influence of marijuana.

As a result, if you are stopped in and ordered out of a motor vehicle because of marijuana, contact a defense lawyer who will fight for you and your rights.  Don’t go at it alone, make the call today.

DUI Attorney

Now that the largest winter storm in decades is being us, many of you will be venturing out to restaurants and bars over the upcoming week to get out of the house.  If you find yourself driving a car after consuming alcohol, remember that the police are out looking for impaired operators.  As a result, here are a few things to keep in mind from a DUI Attorney.

First of all, the police may stop a motor vehicle for any civil motor vehicle infraction.  Civil motor vehicle infractions include speeding and going over the marked lines, just to name two.  What is important to note in any such stop is that the police are looking for a number of things in addition to what is listed on the citation.

For instance, the police will look to see if the driver pulls over right away when the cruiser lights go on, as well as, if the vehicle parks on the side of the road, without any portions of the vehicle sticking out in the road.

Additionally, the police will look for the operator’s ability to find and produce his/her license and registration without dropping or having difficulty handling the items.  The police will also look to see if the driver has bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, or an odor of alcoholic beverages on the breath.

Similarly, if the police believe based on these observations that the driver has a reduced alertness and judgment based on the consumption of alcohol, the police will typically ask the driver to exit and perform field sobriety tests.  Upon exiting, the police are looking to see if the operator has any difficulty opening the door, exiting, and walking on the side of the road.

As a result, without even considering field sobriety tests or the breathalyzer test, the police are looking at a myriad of factors to determine whether they believe someone is impaired. Consequently, if you or someone you know is charged with DUI, contact a DUI Attorney who will challenge the Commonwealth.

Criminal Lawyer

Many of you have commented on the story of the Northbridge middle school student who has been charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon as well as assault and battery against his teachers.  In order to proceed on the assault and battery with a dangerous weapon charge, which is a felony, the Commonwealth must prove that the boy touched the person of another, with the intent to touch the person of another; and where the touching was done with a dangerous weapon.

In this case, the allegation is that the dangerous weapon is a shod foot.  Under Massachusetts law, a food shod in footwear that is capable of causing injury is considered a dangerous weapon.  The essence of the charge is the touching, regardless of whether or not an injury occurs.

To prove the charge of assault and battery, which is a misdemeanor, the government must show that the boy touched the person of another, with the intent to do so, and where such touching was likely to cause bodily harm to another.  An assault and battery is a lesser included offense of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

With this in mind, if you or someone you know is charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon or any crime against the person of another, contact a criminal lawyer who will fight for you.  Don’t hesitate, call today.

DUI Attorney

If someone is charged with DUI in Massachusetts after being involved in a motor vehicle accident, is the accident itself evidence of impairment?  Under Massachusetts law, an accident alone is not evidence of DUI.

If a person is involved in a motor vehicle accident, many of the symptoms of a head injury are consistent with those for DUI.  For example, if the motor vehicle operator strikes his or head on the dashboard of the vehicle, and that person is observed to be unsteady outside of the vehicle, is the unsteadiness caused by the head strike or DUI impairment?

There is no easy answer to this question, and most police officers will not be able to tell the difference absent blood alcohol testing.  Simply stated, can most people tell the difference between the symptoms of impairment and the symptoms of a head injury?  The answer is obviously no, and if you find yourself in such a situation you should be entitled to the benefit of the reasonable doubt.

As a result, if you or someone you know is charged with DUI, contact a DUI attorney who will fight for you and your rights.

Ratings and Reviews

10.0Shane W. Surrette
Shane W. SurretteReviewsout of reviews
National Trial Lawyers Top 100