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.
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.
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.
Many of you have commented on the Leominster man that is charged with armed robbery after allegedly using a knife in a store robbery last weekend. In general, the government may prove an armed robbery if they show that an individual was armed with a dangerous weapon; that he applied actual force or violence to the body of the alleged victim, or put the alleged victim in fear by threatening words or gestures; that he took money or other property from the alleged victim with the intent to steal it; and that he took the property from the possession or immediate control of the alleged victim.
An often litigated issue in armed robbery cases is whether the item qualifies as a dangerous weapon. The term “dangerous weapon” under the armed robbery statute is a term of art and it includes any instrument that by the nature of its construction or the manner of its use is capable of causing grievous bodily injury or death, or could be perceived by a reasonable person as capable of such injury. This would include obvious examples such as firearms and knives, yet it would also include a pencil, if someone held it in their hand and was perceived as willing to stab another with it.
Another often litigated issue is whether or not it has to be shown by the Commonwealth that the person charged actually possessed a dangerous weapon, or whether it is sufficient that the alleged victim perceived the defendant as having a dangerous weapon. The case law is conflicting in this area, yet it seems likely that the court will allow the charge to stand if it is perceived that the defendant has a dangerous weapon, and it isn’t specifically shown that his possession of such a weapon was impossible.
As a result, if you or someone you know is charged with armed robbery, there may be substantial defenses to explore. Go with a criminal attorney who will fight for you and your rights.
As many of you might have seen in the media lately, there has been an upswing in the number of home invasions across the county. To prove a home invasion under Massachusetts law, the Commonwealth must show: entry upon the dwelling house of another; at a time that the defendant knew or had reason to know that someone was present in the dwelling; while armed with a dangerous weapon upon entry; and finally that force was used upon any person within the dwelling, or any person within was threatened with the use of force, or injury was caused to any person within the dwelling.
To qualify as a dwelling, the Commonwealth must show that the premises were presently a place for the living and habitation of persons other than the defendant. Similarly, to qualify as a dangerous weapon under the home invasion statute, the Commonwealth must show that the item is an instrument that by its nature of construction or the manner of its use is capable of causing grievous bodily injury or death, or would be perceived by a reasonable person as capable of such injury. The definition of dangerous weapon also includes any instrument which, because of its manner of use, endangers the life or inflicts great bodily injury. This could include a pencil if intended as a weapon.
The home invasion statute also carries with it a sentence of not less than 20 years in state prison and up to life. As a result, home invasion is a very serious allegation, and you should choose among the criminal law attorneys who will fight for you and your rights.
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.
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.
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.