Driver’s Posture Leading to Drug Arrest in Sturbridge by a Criminal Defense Attorney

Many of you have expressed interest in the story of a driver’s posture leading to a drug arrest on Interstate 84 in Sturbridge.  According to criminal defense attorney Shane W. Surrette, in this case, and in any case involving a motor vehicle stop, the police must have reasonable suspicion to believe that a crime was, is , or is about to be committed. An observed civil motor vehicle infraction such as speeding or crossing marked lanes will supply the objectively reasonable basis to stop a motor vehicle.

If the police have a sufficient basis to stop a motor vehicle, the next question is what level of suspicion is required by the police to justify an exit order of the driver or occupants. Under Massachusetts law, if the police have a reasonable suspicion of danger to themselves or the public, or if the police have suspicion that the individual person has committed, is committing or is about to commit a crime, then an exit order may be appropriate.

Similarly, a thorough search of a motor vehicle will only be tolerated if there is probable cause to believe that the object forming the basis of the search will be found in the vehicle. For example, if the police stop a motor vehicle for speeding and then observe cocaine within the vehicle, the police may search the interior of the vehicle based on probable cause to believe more contraband will be found within the vehicle.

Finally, if the operator of the motor vehicle is arrested for any crime and the vehicle is ordered impounded, the police may search the vehicle pursuant to the departrment’s inventory policy, if such policy is clearly laid out in writing.

Finding a Criminal Defense Attorney

Being charged with a criminal offense is one of the most serious and life changing experiences anyone can face. The most important decision to be made at such a time is who to hire as a criminal defense attorney. When making your selection, here are a couple of thoughts to keep in mind.

First of all, just because someone has been around for many years, doesn’t mean that they are going to fight hard for or do the best job for you. Often times, younger attorneys are hungry to succeed and are going to fight the hardest on an individual case. As a result, it is important not to necessarily equate knowledge with age and years as a member of the bar.

Secondly, although many attorneys will claim that they will aggressively fight for you, and that they are experienced trial attorneys, don’t just focus on self-serving claims from those with obvious financial interests. Look at the cases the attorney has handled on their website, and see if those cases adequately reflect a variety of criminal matters, and not just limited exposure to criminal defense.

Finally, if you are in court, observe the proceedings and see if the attorneys in the room pass the eye test. Performance in the courtroom doesn’t lie, so if you see an attorney who handles him/herself in a manner that you think fits what you are looking for in a criminal defense attorney, that person is probably the attorney for you. As with anything else, you have to be comfortable with your attorney and your attorney has to believe in you and your case.For more information, contact criminal defense attorney Shane W. Surrette.

DUI Attorney

Now that the holiday season has approached, law enforcement will be stepping up its patrol efforts for the remainder of the year.  During this season if you find yourself celebrating or are at a holiday party and you consume alcohol, here are a few things you should know from an experienced DUI Attorney.

First of all, you are not required to perform field sobriety tests under Massachusetts law, and any such refusal can’t be used against you at trial.  So if the police officer asks you to step out of the vehicle and perform these tests, you are within your rights to respectfully refuse. This is important to remember because oftentimes people think that if they do exactly what the officer asks of them, they won’t be arrested. The reality, however, is that if the officer is uncertain as to whether you are under the influence, all doubt is usually resolved in favor of arrest.

Similarly, when arrested for DUI and brought back to the police station, you have the right to refuse the breathalyzer test, and any such refusal also can’t be admitted in the Commonwealth’s case in chief at trial.  The issue with the breathalyzer refusal, however, goes to the license loss implications. For example, assume someone is acquitted after trial of an OUI second offense, and that person refused the breathalyzer test. Even with an acquittal on the underlying OUI, the person acquitted, through counsel, will have to submit a motion to the trial judge for license reinstatement.

If the court decides that the person is a danger to the public safety, the judge can deny the license reinstatement request, and the acquitted will have to wait three years before being able to get the license back. If the judge allows the motion, then a copy of the docket with the reinstatement fee should be brought to the nearest branch of the registry for license reinstatement.

These are just a few things to think about if you find yourself facing an OUI stop or charge. If charges are brought, contact an experienced DUI Attorney today.

The Experience of the Holiday Season According to a DUI Attorney

With Thanksgiving this week, we are at the time of the year for celebration and for spending time with family and friends. It is important to note, however, that during this season, if your celebration involves the consumption of alcohol and operation of a motor vehicle, police will have a stepped up enforcement patrol and will be looking for impaired operators, according to DUI attorney Shane W. Surrette of Worcester, MA.

If you find yourself in a position where you have been stopped after consuming alcoholic beverages, you should keep in mind a few things. First of all, it is important to remain calm, and be respectful of the officer. Panicking, shaking because of nerves, or becoming angry at the officer can all be construed as potential signs of intoxication.

Similarly, you must keep in mind that in most circumstances in Massachusetts, the police officer will ask you to perform field sobriety tests. There are many ways to interpret these tests, and it goes without saying that balancing tests late at night on the side of the road are not generally going to favor the person performing the tests. As a result, please note that under Massachusetts law, you have the right to refuse field sobriety tests, and such refusal evidence can’t be used against you at trial during the Commonwealth’s case.

Finally, if the police believe they have enough evidence and arrest you for DUI, you will be afforded the opportunity for a breathalyzer test.  As with field sobriety tests, you have the right to refuse the breathalyzer test, and the refusal can’t be used against you at trial in the Commonwealth’s case in chief. Depending on the amount of alcohol consumed, this is often the most important decision that reflects heavily on the difference between a guilty and not guilty finding.

Note that a lack of breathalyzer evidence will often significantly aid anyone criminally charged, however, such refusal will have license implications that can cause a suspension from 180 days to life, even with an acquittal.

So if you or someone you know is charged with DUI over the holiday season, do the right thing and contact an experienced DUI attorney who will fight for you and your license.

Criminal Attorney to Work For You

Whenever you are charged with a criminal offense, it is important to choose a criminal attorney who is going to fight for you from arraignment through trial. In determining who you should go to battle with, take a few suggestions from an experienced criminal attorney.

First of all, age should not be a determinative factor in choosing an appropriate criminal attorney for you. A common misconception is that with age comes experience and knowledge. While this is generally accurate, many young attorneys are hungry and are focused on getting the best possible results for their clients. With youth comes energy and drive, so don’t shy away from a criminal attorney just because they appear to be young.

Similarly, it is often helpful to find a criminal attorney who was formerly an assistant district attorney. The reason is that former prosecutors know what it takes to prove a case, and what evidence needs to be presented. As a result, with the knowledge of what is needed to prove a case comes with it the knowledge of how to knock a case down.

Finally, when looking for a criminal attorney, look for one who is willing to listen and who believes in you and the case. Don’t settle for an attorney who is going to talk down to you or who isn’t going to listen to your concerns. Don’t hesitate, contact criminal attorney Shane W. Surrette today.

Massachusetts DUI Lawyers

According to Shane W. Surrette, one of the most experienced of all Massachusetts DUI Lawyers, being charged with an OUI is one of the most life altering charges that an individual can face. With the potential for jail and probation with significant conditions, the impact can be felt for many years to come. For instance, a conviction or an admission on a first offense for OUI for an adult brings with it the potential for jail time, or in the alternative, probation for up to two years, with the mandatory completion of an alcohol education awareness program.

The probation on a first offense also carries with it a supervision fee of $65 per month, as well as, the cost of the program, and $600 in fees and fines. Beyond probation and its accompanying hardship is license loss.

For example, if convicted of an OUI first offense, an adult will face a 45-90 day license loss.  Similarly, if there was a breathalyzer test refusal on a first offense, then under Massachusetts law there is a 180 day license loss. It is worth noting that the 45-90 day license loss runs from and after the expiration of the 180 day period.

Furthermore, if there is a breathalyzer test taken and failed then there is a 30 day license loss for an adult on a first offense, as well as the 45-90 day loss upon conviction or admission. Also, whenever the license suspension period ends on an OUI charge, there is an accompanying reinstatement fee through the registry of motor vehicles. As a result, if you or someone you know is charged with OUI, go with one of the most experienced of all Massachusetts DUI Lawyers, Shane W. Surrette.

DUI Attorney on Auburn Man Charged with Drunken Driving

Many of you are interested in the story of an Auburn man charged with OUI causing serious bodily injury after a crash on interstate 290 over the weekend. Going forward, the question is going to be, what does the government have to show to prove such a charge beyond a reasonable doubt? The answer depends on whether the defendant is charged under the felony or the misdemeanor branch, according to dui attorney Shane W. Surrette of Worcester, MA. For the felony charge of OUI causing serious bodily injury, the government must prove that the defendant operated a motor vehicle on a public way; while under the influence of alcohol or with a blood alcohol level of .08 or above; and did so in a negligent or reckless manner; and by such operation caused serious bodily injury to someone. In order for the Commonwealth to prove the misdemeanor branch of OUI causing serious bodily injury, it must be shown that the person operated a motor vehicle; on a public way; while under the influence of alcohol or with a blood alcohol level of .08 or above; and by such operation caused serious bodily injury to someone. The difference between the felony and misdemeanor branch of the statute is that under the felony branch negligent or reckless operation has to be shown, whereas, in the misdemeanor portion, no such showing is required. Furthermore, a bodily injury is serious if it creates a substantial risk of death; it involves total disability; it involves the loss of any bodily function for a substantial period of time; or it involves substantial impairment of any bodily function for a substantial period of time. As a result, if you or someone you know is charged with DUI, contact an aggressive DUI attorney to fight for you and your rights. For additional questions, or if you would like a free consultation, please contact DUI attorney Surrette at 505.799.9309.

DUI Attorney: Worcester County OUI Acquittal Rates

Worcester County OUI Acquittal Rates by Judges

Many have taken an interest in the Boston Globe article referencing the percentage of jury-waived acquittal rates by judges on OUI cases in Worcester County.  Despite this public critique, the standard for finding someone guilty or not guilty remains the same whether the case is tried in front of a jury or a judge, according to dui attorney Shane W. Surrette of Worcester, MA.  The question is whether or not the government has proven beyond a reasonable doubt and to a moral certainty that the person operated his/her motor vehicle on a public way at a time his/her ability to operate a motor vehicle safely was impaired, or with a blood alcohol content of .08 or above.

If the fact finder, being either a jury or judge, decides that the government has failed to prove the OUI case beyond a reasonable doubt, then the person charged must be acquitted.  If, however, the fact finder decides that the government has proven the case beyond a reasonable doubt and to a moral certainty, then the person charged should be found guilty.

The decision as to whether to try a case in front of a judge or jury is solely within the province of the person charged.  Since the standard of proof is the same regardless of whom the case is tried in front of, it is important to have an experienced Worcester County OUI Lawyer on your side when making the decision on whether to have your case proceed in front of a judge or jury.

Fitchburg Store Theft, by Worcester Criminal Law Attorney

Cashier Charged with Stealing $640 from Register at Store in Fitchburg

Many of you have been concerned with the story of the K’Mart cashier in Fitchburg who is charged with Larceny over $250 for allegedly stealing $640 from her own cash register. The female employee is also alleged to have signed a confession admitting responsibility for the crime, according to criminal law attorney Shane W. Surrette of Worcester, MA.

Larceny over $250 is a felony punishable by state prison, whereas larceny under $250 is a misdemeanor, which doesn’t carry a state prison sentence. This is the difference between felonies and misdemeanors under Massachusetts state law, the former calling for state prison sentences, where the latter does not. What makes the larceny charge against the female cashier a felony is the value of the property stolen.

Any allegation of the value of the property stolen being over $250 is a felony under Massachusetts law, and an allegation that the value of the property being $250 or less is a misdemeanor.

In most larceny cases that remain in the district court, the differences in criminal punishment between larceny over $250 and larceny under $250 is not going to be extraordinary.  The main issue, however, will be that a conviction for a felony carries with it significant long-standing collateral consequences, whereas a misdemeanor has much less impact.  What is important to remember when charged with a larceny offense is to contact a Worcester County Criminal Defense Lawyer with experience handling larceny cases.

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