Criminal Law Lawyer: OUI Roadblock

The Massachusetts State Police are running a DUI roadblock this weekend in Worcester County.
These roadblocks are run on secondary roadways, and are typically located in the area of Routes 9, 12, or 20.
A DUI roadblock is constitutional if the police conduct it according to strict guidelines and each officer at the roadblock follows these strict guidelines.  For instance, it is common for the plan to include the stopping of every vehicle that enters the roadblock, unless traffic gets backed up to a certain location.  If you are out and stopped at this or any other roadblock in Massachusetts, there will be a greeting officer who identifies himself and declare that this is a roadblock.

If the officer identifies any factors consistent with impairment, he will direct the vehicle to a secondary area (typically a parking lot), where another officer will look for additional signs of alcohol impairment.  If the secondary officer believes the operator is driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, he will make an arrest.

If you or someone you know is arrested for operating under the influence of alcohol after being stopped at a roadblock, contact a Criminal Law Lawyer with experience handling roadblock cases.
Don’t hesitate, make the call today.

Criminal Attorney: Sex Offense Charge

There are many collateral consequences of being charged with a sex offense under Massachusetts law.  Beyond facing the potential for a jail or state prison sentence, you will also face registration with the sex offender registry board, the potential for commitment as a sexually dangerous person, as well as GPS monitoring.  There has also been an upswing over the past few years in town residency restrictions.

Town residency restrictions are those adopted by the particular city or town that prohibit certain sex offenders, usually level 3, from residing within certain distances from schools and parks, just to name two locations.  A typical residency restriction would prohibit someone determined to be a level 3 sex offender from living within 1,000 of a school or park.

This can obviously be an onerous restriction if there are many parks within a particular town, or if the only place you can live is within 1,000 feet of a school or park.  Such a restriction could require someone to sell their home, and face significant difficulties in finding residency, all to prevent any violation of restrictions.

As residency restrictions are just one of a number of potential collateral consequences of a conviction for a sex offense, it is important to find a criminal attorney who has experience handling such cases.  Don’t hesitate, more than your freedom is on the line.

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.

Criminal Law Attorney

If you are arrested for certain specified drug offenses under Massachusetts law, and these offenses occur within 300 feet of a school zone between the hours of 5 a.m. and midnight, there is an enhanced penalty under Massachusetts law.  If found in violation of the statute and given a house of correction sentence, the punishment is for not less than 2 years nor more than 2.5.

If sent to the state prison, the sentence is for not less than 2.5 years, and for not more than 15 years.  Any sentence under the school zone statute is to run on and after the sentence for the underlying drug case.

It is important to note, however, that the school zone statute was recently amended by the legislature within the past year, changing the distance required to be found in violation under the statute from 1,000 to 300 feet, and abolishing any potential violations between the hours of 12 a.m. to 5 a.m.  This highlights the legislature’s intent that the statute be tailored to drug cases occurring in very close proximity to a school, at a time when there is a possibility that a school activity may be taking place.

Even with the legislature’s tightening up of the distance and time requirements under the statute, if you or someone you know is charged with such a violation, contact a criminal law attorney who will fight for you and who will challenge the Commonwealth’s evidence.

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.

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.

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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