Criminal Law Attorneys

As many of us will be attending parties this week in celebration of the New Year, it is important to keep in mind that the police will be out looking for impaired operators.  If you or someone you know is arrested for suspicion of OUI, keep in mind that under Massachusetts law, you are not required to submit to a breathalyzer test.

If you refuse such a test, however, your license will be suspended for six months for a first offense, three years on a second offense and for five years on a third offense.  This is often how the police are able to encourage those arrested for OUI to submit to the breathalyzer test.

If you find yourself in a position where you have consented to the breathalyzer test, and it is over the .08 limit, remember that the machine does not print out guilty tickets.  It only prints out a number from a test that is normally given sometime after the motor vehicle stop, and not while you are operating the vehicle.  As a result, if you or someone you know is charged with OUI, look for those criminal law attorneys who will fight for you and your rights. You can contact criminal law attorney Shane W. Surrette at 508-799-9309, or by clicking on the link below.

Holiday Celebration Season & Your Rights According to DUI Attorney

We are now at the end of the year and the holiday party season is in full swing. At the same time, law enforcement officers are also out looking for operators suspected of driving while under the influence of alcohol. If you find yourself in a situation where you are stopped by police after consuming alcohol in any amount, here are a few things you should know. 

First of all, the police are trained to look at certain clues in detecting what is believed to be impaired operation. For instance, the police will look to see if the operator maintains the appropriate lane of travel, follows the traffic laws, as well as, how the person stops the vehicle.  This is all before the police officer has even spoken to the driver. 

Similarly, as the officer approaches the vehicle he/she is looking to see how the operator reacts to retrieving his/her license, as well, as the person’s ability to exit and walk out of the vehicle. 

Whether inside or outside of the motor vehicle, it is important to note that under Massachusetts law you are not required to perform field sobriety tests. It is perfectly acceptable to decline the officer’s request to perform such tests, and your refusal can’t be used against you in the government’s case in chief at any subsequent trial.

Furthermore, you are not required to take the breathalyzer test back at the police station, and just like field sobriety tests, any refusal can’t be used against you in the Commonwealth’s case in chief at trial. The issue with a breathalyzer test refusal, however, is that any refusal will have license suspension consequences that increase dramatically based on the number of prior DUI offenses. As a result, if you or someone you know is charged with DUI, contact Massachusetts DUI attorney Shane W. Surrette for a complementary consultation.

Criminal Attorney Massachusetts

The difference between possession of drugs and possession of drugs with the intent to distribute is significant under Massachusetts law.  For example, if you possess heroin under Massachusetts law, that is a misdemeanor, whereas, if you possess heroin with the intent to distribute the same, that is a felony. While this difference is clear, a frequently litigated issue is whether the misdemeanor or the felony charge is appropriate, according to criminal attorney Shane W. Surrette of Worcester MA.

For instance, if someone is arrested for possessing a large amount of heroin, without any cash on their possession, or any packaging materials, or any other items that might suggest distribution, does the amount alone suggest distribution? The Commonwealth will argue that a large amount of heroin is consistent with someone who is going to distribute the heroin, whereas, it may be a situation where the person uses a large amount of heroin each day and it is for personal use.

Obviously, the more items the police find that link the heroin to an intent to distribute will enhance the Commonwealth’s case, and will enable an expert to say that possession of the items are more consistent with an intent to distribute than for personal use. If you or someone you know is faced with such a situation, don’t go at it alone. Search for a criminal attorney in Massachusetts who is experienced in this type of situation.

The Breathalyzer Test Procedure: by Drunk Driving Lawyer

Whenever someone is pulled over and the police officer makes the fateful decision to arrest the person for operating under the influence, the police will offer the opportunity for a breathalyzer test. This will oftentimes seem like the only option, as the form that the police read the breathalyzer rights from states that you could lose your license to operate a motor vehicle from 6 months to life for a refusal.

With this in mind, if the decision is made to take a breathalyzer test, there are certain procedures that the police must follow in administering such a test. For instance, pursuant to Massachusetts regulations, the breath test operator must observe the person consenting to the test for a period of at least 15 minutes immediately prior to the administration of the test.  501 C.M.R. 2.13 (3). Substantial failure to observe for the 15 minute period of time immediately prior to the test can form the basis of a Motion to Exclude the test results.

Similarly, the time that the person is first observed for purposes of the observation period should be entered as the same time on both the test ticket as well as the rights form that the person taking the test signs off on. If these times are not the same, this may call into question when and at what time the person was actually first observed for the 15 minute observation period.

Finally, the breath testing device as well as the person giving the test must be certified. If the device, or the operator are not certified, than the test is invalid. As a result, if you or someone you know is charged with operating under the influence, and there is a breathalyzer test result, contact an experienced Massachusetts Drunk Driving Lawyer today to go to bat for you.

For more information, please contact attorney Surrette by clicking on the link below:

Children in Car with DUI, according to a DUI Attorney

A DUI charge can have a significant impact on all aspects of life.  It can prevent you from driving, cost thousands of dollars in fees and fines, and can subject you to jail penalties. There is also an enhanced penalty under Massachusetts law for anyone arrested for DUI with a child who is 14 years of age or younger in the vehicle.

According to M.G.L. c. 90 s. 24V, if the underlying DUI charge is proven and there is a child 14 or younger in the vehicle, then the penalty on a first offense for a violation of this section is imprisonment in the house of correction for not less than 90 days and not more than 2.5 years and a fine of not less than $1,000 and not more than $5,000.  The punishment also has to run on and after the sentence for the underlying DUI, and additionally carries a 1 year license loss.

As a result, if you or someone you know faces such a charge, contact an experienced DUI attorney who will fight for you and your rights both before and at trial. Furthermore, always keep in mind that the Commonwealth has to obtain a conviction on the underlying DUI before any sentence enhancements come into play.

For more information, please contact experienced dui attorney Shane W. Surrette at the link below:

Failed Field Sobriety Tests, by MA Drunk Driving Lawyer Shane W. Surrette

If you or someone you know is stopped in a vehicle after consuming alcohol, there is a good chance the police officer will ask you to exit the motor vehicle and perform field sobriety tests. These tests are meant to be divided attention tasks, measuring an individual’s ability to process information, follow instruction, and maintain balance.  As with anything in an OUI stop, these tests are subjective, yet there are certain clues that the police will look for when asking someone suspected of operating under the influence to perform these tests.

For example, a standardized test under Massachusetts law is the nine step walk and turn test. This is an exercise where the police officer will ask you to stand with your right foot in front of your left, with your arms by your sides while they demonstrate and explain the test.  The police officer then explains that the test consists of walking nine steps in a straight line, with your heels touching your toes, arms by your sides, with a prescribed turn, and nine steps back in the same fashion to the starting position.

The clues that are looked for in this test are whether or not you are able to balance during the instructional part of the test, whether you: step off line, maintain heel to toe, raise your arms, start on time, stop, turn correctly, take the correct number of steps, and maintain balance.  Often times an individual may miss heel to toe or may step offline on a couple of steps, yet they take the correct number of steps, keep their arms by their sides, and turn correctly.  Does this mean that they satisfactorily or unsatisfactorily performed the tests?

As with anything else, it is generally a question of degree.  As a result, it is important to hire a Massachusetts Drunk Driving Lawyer who will highlight the strengths of your case and who will aggressively fight for you. For more information, please contact Attorney Surrette at the link below:

Allowing Police to Search Cell Phone Call Lists, according to a Criminal Justice Attorney

Just a couple of days ago the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decided two cases that begin to address police conducted searches of smart phones without a warrant. The two cases stand for the proposition that where an individual is lawfully arrested, and a cell phone is seized pursuant to that lawful arrest, and where an officer performs a limited search of the phone’s recent call history for evidence directly relating to the crime for which the individual was arrested, the search will be upheld.

The cases involved individuals being arrested based on probable cause to believe they were distributing narcotics. Pursuant to a search incident to those arrests, cell phones were discovered within the possession of the defendants. Based on the probable cause, the police searched the recent call lists for further evidence pertaining to the narcotics distribution trade, as cell phones are instruments of such trade. 

The Court left for another day, however, whether their assessment would be the same on different facts, or in relation to a different type of intrusion into a more complex cellular telephone or other information storage device. With these questions unanswered, if you or someone you know is charged with a criminal offense, contact a criminal justice attorney who will fight for you by clicking the link below:

Criminal Attorney

There has been a lot of interest in the story of five people in Webster being charged with drug offenses after a month long investigation by the Webster Police, according to criminal attorney Shane W. Surrette. Some of the charges include possession of heroin with the intent to distribute as well as conspiracy to violate the drug laws.

Possession of heroin with the intent to distribute is a felony under Massachusetts law. If such a charge remains in district court, the potential penalty includes up to 2.5 years to the house of correction, or a fine from $1,000 to $10,000, or both incarceration and fine. If a possession with intent to distribute heroin charge is indicted, the potential penalty is up to 10 years in the state prison, or a fine from $1,000 to $10, 000, or both imprisonment and fine. If someone is charged as a subsequent offender, the penalty goes up and includes a mandatory minimum sentence.

Similarly, under Massachusetts law, the penalty for conspiracy to violate the drug laws is the same as that of the underlying offense.  For instance, if you are charged with conspiracy to possess heroin with the intent to distribute, the penalty is the same as that referenced in the prior paragraph.  As a result, if you or someone you know is charged with drug offenses, contact an experienced Worcester criminal attorney today by clicking the link below.

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