Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

Responding to Massachusetts Arrest Warrants

Massachusetts law enforcement recently added an accused child rapist to the state’s Most Wanted list. The suspect is accused of committing multiple sexual assaults against a child who was under the age of 10. 

In 2013, after an investigation by Leominster law enforcement, a warrant was issued charging the individual with the rape of a child. The suspect is then reported to have fled the area and remained at large. 

There are two types of “body” warrants in Massachusetts — arrest and bench warrants. Both of these warrants are capable of being used as legal tools to bring a person into custody. The following takes a brief look at the difference between these two warrants and offers some advice about what to do if a warrant is issued for your arrest.

The Difference Between These Two Warrants

Arrest warrants are most often requested by courts of law in combination with the district attorney’s office when law enforcement has probable cause that a criminal offense was committed by the individual named in the warrant. 

Bench warrants, however, are connected to some type of court-related offense like failure to appear before the court following a summon. If you fail to appear in court, a judge might issue a warrant and enter it into a database informing law enforcement that they have the ability to arrest you for this violation. 

The primary difference between arrest and bench warrants is that law enforcement is much more likely to locate a person if an arrest warrant is issued. 

How to Respond if a Warrant is Issued for Your Arrest

There are only a few ways to respond if a warrant is issued for your arrest. Some of the steps that you should take include:

  • Make sure that there is actually a warrant issued for your arrest before deciding what to do.

  • Realize that trying to not think about the warrant will not make it go away

  • Do not run because this will only result in additional charges being brought against you

  • Avoid traveling because security personnel likely has access to a warrant database

  • Do not hesitate to obtain the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney, particularly before you decide to turn yourself in to law enforcement

How to Determine if a Warrant is Issued for Your Arrest

To determine if a warrant in Massachusetts has been issued for your arrest, it is possible to pay to obtain a copy of your criminal offense report. This document can be obtained online or through writing. If you retain the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney, the lawyer will be able to make a determination for you about the types of warrants that have been issued in your name. 

Speak with an Experienced Criminal Defense

Having a warrant issued for your arrest can be frightening. If you need assistance navigating this situation, you should not hesitate to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Contact attorney Edward Molari today to schedule a free initial consultation.

Being Charged with a Criminal Offense Out of State

Last month, state law enforcement arrested a man in New Mexico who is wanted in connection with a homicide that occurred in Massachusetts. The arrest occurred after law enforcement received a tip that the man was traveling through the state. They then conducted a high-risk traffic stop on the vehicle and the man was taken into custody without incident. At the time of the arrest, the man was traveling with his five children, who range in age from 3 to 17. 

Being charged with a criminal offense is an overwhelming event, and it is common for the person charged to be unsure of how to proceed. These circumstances can become much more difficult to navigate when a person is charged with a criminal offense in one state for an offense that occurred in another state. 

If you are facing criminal charges in Massachusetts while living in another state, it can help to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. It also helps to follow a few established strategies, which we will review below.

Jurisdiction Issues

Jurisdiction refers to the ability to make legal decisions as well as judgments. States have jurisdiction over any criminal offense that occurs within the state. 

States additionally have jurisdiction over criminal offenses even if the person never set foot in that state. For individuals who have committed serious criminal offenses in one state, however, it is also possible for a person to be arrested in another state.

Court Appearances can be Complicated

For some criminal offenses in the state of Massachusetts, it is possible for a Massachusetts attorney to appear before a court of law to resolve the case. The defendant him or herself may not need to appear in court. 

When more serious offenses are involved, however, it is likely that you will have to appear before a court of law in the state where you are being charged. To determine whether it is possible to have an out-of-state attorney entirely handle matters for you, the best solution is to speak with a knowledgeable Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer first. 

Posting Bail

If a felony is involved, a court might required an out-of-state person to post bail, which can be particularly expensive. 

Bail refers to money paid to the court as assurance that the person charged will return to court to face these charges. Once a person returns to court, the bail is returned. 

Speak with an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

You should not hesitate to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer if you are charged with an offense. If you are charged with an offense in Massachusetts but live in another state, you should consider speaking with a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney. If you fail to resolve matters properly, it is possible that you could end up facing a number of much more serious legal penalties. 

During an initial free consultation, Attorney Edward Molari will explain the various charges against you as well as explain your various available legal strategies. Contact Attorney Molari today for assistance.

Entrapment and Drug Stings

Multiple law enforcement agencies in Massachusetts recently broke up a massive drug trafficking ring, which resulted in the arrest of 14 individuals and confiscated about 35 pounds of fentanyl and heroin as well as 15 pounds of cocaine and four handguns. 

The investigation first began in 2017 and led to a joint effort between federal, state, and local law enforcement. The effort marks the first major investigation by the Massachusetts State Police Interstate Narcotics Reduction Enforcement Team. 

The bust involved the simultaneous execution of 14 search warrants in Methuen and Lawrence. While two suspects were arraigned in Ayer District Court, the rest of the individuals who were arrested were arraigned in Lawrence District Court. Law enforcement has already stated that by reducing the availability of these drugs, it will greatly improve the lives of many addicts and their loved ones. 

As the state of Massachusetts continues to combat the ongoing drug crisis, it is likely that the state will use a number of tactics to combat drug usage. Despite efforts by law enforcement to combat drug use, there are a number of Constitutional and state rights that law enforcement is still required to follow. 

If a law enforcement officer arrests you for a drug related offense, you likely have questions about the validity of your arrest as well as the availability of possible defenses. To respond to these situations, the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney can be particularly helpful. 

How Sting Operations Work

During drug stings, law enforcement officers sometimes pose as drug dealers to catch other people who are involved with the sale or purchase of drugs. For these stings to work, law enforcement sometimes even interacts with real drugs. 

If an officer has arrested you as a result of one of these operations, it is common to be uncertain about what is happening. By creating the fear that you might be arrested for buying or selling drugs, law enforcement hopes to greatly reduce the number of drug transactions that occur. 

The Potential for Entrapment

Entrapment is a common defense after a person is arrested in relation to a drug sting. If a court of law determines that entrapment was involved in your arrest, it is likely that you will be able to create a strong enough defense to either reduce your charges or have them dropped entirely. 

The burden is on the person charged, however, to demonstrate that entrapment occurred. In these cases, it is critical to remember several important factors:

  • Law enforcement is prohibited from using unreasonable methods to convince you to commit a criminal offense. This includes harassing or threatening you.

  • A person must not have any predisposition to commit a criminal defense. In situations in which a person already has a criminal record in relation to drug offenses, it is more difficult but not impossible to successfully argue entrapment. 

  • Despite the availability of the entrapment defense, law enforcement can sometimes use deception in stings, which might include presenting as drug dealers or buyers or hiding the fact that a person is a police officer. Many people, however, still believe the long held myth that law enforcement must reveal their identity or risk entrapment allegations.

Speak with an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer

Following a drug-related arrest, it is common to experience a number of fears and uncertainties. One of the best steps to make sure your charges resolve in the best possible manner is to obtain the assistance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Contact attorney Edward Molari today to schedule a free initial consultation. 

Three Things You Should Know About Fentanyl Trafficking Charges

Law enforcement in Boston recently arrested two individuals in Dorchester and Hyde Park and recovered approximately 2,500 grams of fentanyl as well as over $12,500. The two individuals are now facing multiple charges including trafficking Class A drugs and distribution of Class A drugs.

Over the last few years, there has been a significant increase in the rate of fentanyl use in the state of Massachusetts. This also unfortunately means that the death rate from drug use in Massachusetts is among the highest in the country and more than twice the national average. In an effort to decrease these rates, Massachusetts enforces a number of laws related to fentanyl use. One of the criminal offenses with which people found with fentanyl are commonly charged is trafficking.

In the state of Massachusetts, drug trafficking charges are governed by General Law Chapter 94C Controlled Substances, which states that the act of trafficking is knowingly or intentionally distributing, dispensing, or possessing an illegal substance with the intent to distribute, dispense, or manufacture more than 18 grams of the substance into the state.

Trafficking charges in Massachusetts are particularly serious, but there are many things about these offenses that people do not know.

There are Four Elements to a Drug Trafficking Offense in Massachusetts

To convict a person in Massachusetts of fentanyl trafficking, the prosecution must establish that a person beyond a reasonable doubt did the following:

  • A person knowingly or intentionally

  • Either actually or constructively possessed fentanyl

  • The fentanyl was more than 10 grams

  • A person possessed the fentanyl with the intent to distribute it to someone else

There are a Number of Defenses to Trafficking Charges

An experienced attorney can review the facts of your case to determine some of the best ways to respond to a drug trafficking charge. Some of the most common defense strategies include:

  • Filing a motion to suppress, which can suppress evidence vital to a conviction based on the fact that a search of a person, vehicle, or home was unlawful, an informant was not reliable, or a traffic stop was based on an unlawful premise

  • The plea negotiation process can sometimes be used to reduce a person’s charge to a much lower level of drugs that were involved. As a result, a person can end up facing much less serious penalties in relation to a trafficking charge.

Elevated Penalties for Massachusetts Drug Trafficking

A person who is charged with fentanyl trafficking 10 or more grams can end up facing three and a half years to 20 years in prison. The penalties that a person in Massachusetts faces in relation to trafficking for heroin or morphine increase based on the amount of drugs involved.

For example, a person found trafficking 18 to 35 grams of heroin or morphine can end up facing between three and a half to 30 years in prison as well as maximum of $50,000 in fines.

Speak with an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

Attorney Edward Molari has substantial experience representing people in Massachusetts who have been charged with a variety of drug offenses.

If you have been charged with any type of fentanyl-related offense, do not hesitate to contact attorney Edward Molari today.

Defenses to Charges of Inappropriate Conduct

A teacher in Whitman was recently arrested in relation to charges that the man had inappropriate conduct with a student. The charges included two counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under the age of 14.  

The arrest occurred after an investigation into a dance that the teacher taught a class of 20 students showed that there was probable cause on which to arrest the teacher. The teacher’s father argues that the arrest resulted from a misunderstanding and that the teacher did not do anything wrong.

Teachers today face a great amount of scrutiny for the relationships that they have with students. While it is a wise idea to establish clear boundaries with students, sometimes things happen despite exercising caution.

As a result of allegations of sexual misconduct with a student, it is possible for teachers to end up facing a number of serious complications including loss of employment, a tattered reputation, and criminal charges.

Efforts by Massachusetts to Enforce Teacher/Student Misconduct Laws

In 2017, a bill was considered in the Massachusetts legislature that would have increased the enforcement of sexual misconduct in laws. If the bill had become a law, it would have made it illegal for any teacher to engage in a sexual relationship with students under the age of 19.

Schools would have also been required to report abuse to the state of Massachusetts or pay a fine of $10,000 for each offense.

The bill, however, was not passed, and it is still lawful for teachers in Massachusetts to engage in sexual relations with students provided the student is over the age of 16 and consents to the relationship. For relationships involving sexual touching and not intercourse, however, the age of consent for a student is merely 14 years old.

Ways Teachers can Protect Themselves From Criminal Charges

While it will not help in every situation, there are some steps that teachers can take to greatly reduce the risk of being charged with inappropriate conduct. Some of these steps include:

  • Always make sure to uphold rules of conduct that are safe and appropriate for children

  • Behave in ways that everyone who knows about the matter would be comfortable

  • Pay close attention to a student’s body language

  • Remain respectful of students’ boundaries

  • Take extra precautions when you are alone with children, which should include obtaining permission from their parents

  • Understand and respect that some children will dislike and be unhappy about some things you might be required to do for health or safety reasons

  • Uphold boundaries concerning sexual or suggestive behavior

Contact a Boston Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are convicted of sexual misconduct with a minor, it is important to understand that you face a lengthy prison sentence as well as a number of other life complications. In these situations, it is a wise idea to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Contact attorney Edward Molari today for assistance.

Three Ways to Defend Against Armed Robbery Charges in Massachusetts

A man in Boston was recently arrested after a string of armed robberies occurred in and around the North End. Following the arrest, a man with a loaded handgun was taken into custody and charged with committing three armed robberies.

Law enforcement was able to determine that three robberies were committed by the same person because on each occasion the individual was noticed removing a handgun from his waistband before he demanded cash and left the area.

In addition to being charged with armed robbery, the suspect was also charged with unlawful possession of a loaded firearm, unlawful possession of an unloaded firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition, and firearm violation with a prior violent/drug criminal conviction.

Armed robbery in Massachusetts occurs when a person uses force or threat of force to take property from someone while armed with a deadly weapon, which can include a firearm or any other type of weapon.

Massachusetts law, however, acknowledges two types of deadly weapon — weapons designed to produce death or bodily harm and weapons that are not designed to produce death or great bodily harm but which can become dangerous weapons.

Because armed robbery convictions result in several years in prison, a person convicted of this offense should not hesitate to obtain the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help create a strong strategy to respond to these charges.

An experienced criminal defense attorney can review the facts of your case and help you determine the best way to respond to criminal charges. The following are three of the strongest defenses that can be raised in this situation:

You Did Not Commit the Offense

It is an unfortunate truth, but some people end up wrongfully accused of committing robbery. If this is this case, we will review the facts surrounding your arrest and obtain every possible piece of evidence that shows you are not the person who committed the offense.

Some of the most common ways to show you are innocent of armed robbery include:

  • Challenging the accuracy of a witness testimony

  • Presenting evidence that you were somewhere else at the time the robbery occurred

  • Showing that any identification procedures were prejudicial and unreliable

Prosecution Cannot Establish the Elements of an Offense

To convict a person of a criminal charge, prosecution must establish that a person committed each element of an offense.

If prosecution fails to prove all of the elements of an armed robbery offense beyond a reasonable doubt, you cannot be convicted of armed robbery and will likely either have your charges reduced to a lesser offense or discharged completely.

You Performed the Robbery Under Duress

There are some cases where third parties threaten to hurt or kill others if they do not commit a robbery. An experienced criminal defense attorney understand how to best establish that an offense only occurred because a person was under duress and that you should not be found guilty of committing the offense.

Speak with an Experienced Massachusetts Criminal Defense Lawyer

Attorney Edward Molari has the skill and experience necessary to help people charged with robbery commit a strong legal defense. From start to finish, attorney Molari will pursue every available option in your case to make sure that matters resolve in the best way possible.

Contact attorney Molari today to schedule a free initial consultation.

Ways to Defeat Massachusetts Assault and Battery Charges

A man in South Boston was recently charged with assault after he allegedly randomly punched another individual in the face. The charges came after law enforcement responded to calls of an assault and battery and spoke with a man who claimed he was walking with a woman when a stranger walked up to the man and punched him in the face. A woman who saw the accident occur followed the suspect, who was eventually arrested near the Chinatown MBTA station. In addition to charges of assault, the man was also charged with battery causing bodily injury and resisting arrest.

A large number of people in Massachusetts end up facing assault and battery charges each year. Fortunately, an experienced criminal defense attorney understands how these charges are made and can help create a strategy to defend against these charges. This article lists some of the most common defenses that can be raised in defense to assault and battery charges in Massachusetts.

Showing that Prosecution Failed to Prove Each Element of an Offense

One of the most common ways to defend against a charge of assault or battery in Massachusetts is to establish that law enforcement failed to meet each element of an offense beyond a reasonable doubt.

To convict a person of assault in Massachusetts, prosecution must establish that an individual either attempted to use physical force against an individual or demonstrate that a person had the intent to use immediate force against someone.

A person in Massachusetts can be convicted of assault and battery if it can be demonstrated that the individual deliberately touched the victim in a way that was likely to result in bodily harm or did so without the consent of the victim.

Dismissal of Charges

Another common strategy that a criminal defense attorney might attempt to use is a dismissal of all charges. One common way to obtain a dismissal of charges is to show defects in either charging documents or to establish that a person’s Constitutional rights were violated by law enforcement.

Establish That the Offense Did Not Occur

It is not uncommon for law enforcement to side with the alleged victim when a charge of assault or battery arises. If you are able to establish that the assault or battery did not occur, a strong defense can be raised. It is also possible in some cases to establish before a court of law that law enforcement got the details incorrect about your arrest.

Proving Motivation to Make False Allegations

While not as common as the first two defenses, it is possible in some cases that the victim made up an assault or battery charge in an attempt to get someone else in trouble with law enforcement. In these situations, an experienced criminal defense attorney can create a strategy to establish that the alleged victim made up claims of assault or battery.

Speak with an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

No matter the exact assault or battery offense with which you are charged, do not hesitate to speak with experienced criminal defense attorney Edward Molari today.

Defending Against Charges of Dissemination of Obscene Material in Massachusetts

 

A Massachusetts doctor was recently arrested after a four-month investigation by law enforcement. The doctor is accused of giving a young boy cash in exchange for sex. Communication between the doctor and the boy is alleged to have included images of child pornography. The hospital that employed the physician has since terminated the doctor from his position.

Later, during a search of the doctor’s home, investigators seized several communication devices, narcotics, and child pornography. The doctor has since been charged with sex trafficking, possession of child pornography, two counts of electronic enticement of a child for prostitution, and two counts of disseminating obscene matter to a minor.

In the state of Massachusetts, charges of dissemination of obscene material have the potential to result in serious penalties. In these situations, it is a wise idea to obtain the assistance of an experienced attorney who can create a strong defense strategy. The following will review some of the most common defenses that are raised in response to these charges.

Prosecution Failed to Establish an Element of the Offense

To convict a person of a criminal offense, the prosecution must establish each element of a criminal offense beyond a reasonable doubt. If you are convicted of the dissemination of obscene material in Massachusetts, General Laws Chapter 272 Section 29 can result in you facing a maximum of several years of imprisonment. The elements of the dissemination of obscene material include the following:

  • The material involved must be obscene

  • The person being charged disseminated the material or possessed the material with the intent to disseminate it, and

  • The defendant understood the obscene nature of the material. Under Massachusetts law, obscene material can include any printed or visual materials, which most often includes books, films, magazines, and photographs.

To fully understand these three elements, it is critical to understand what constitutes obscene material. To be classified as obscene, material must meet three elements:

  • The material must appeal to the prurient interest of an average person who lives in the county where the offense occurred

  • The material must display sexual conduct in an offensive way to an average person who lives in the county, and

  • The material must lack any artistic, literary, or scientific value.

The Behavior Was Protected Under the First Amendment

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution protects a person’s freedom of expression as well as speech. If the material possesses any type of artistic, literary, or scientific value, then the work is likely protected under the First Amendment and a person cannot be convicted of the dissemination of the material.

Libraries, Museums, and Schools

If a person is able to establish that obscene material was being collected for a bona fide library, museum, or school, it is possible to raise a strong defense. If a person was acting in the course of employment for a bona fide library, or museum, or school, a strong defense can also be raised.

Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been charged with the offense of the dissemination of obscene material, do not hesitate to contact experienced criminal defense attorney Edward Molari.

 

Massachusetts Supreme Court Extends Cell Phone Privacy Rights

In April 2019, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, which is the highest court in the state, ruled that law enforcement’s access to real time cell phone data constitutes an intrusion on a person’s reasonable expectation of privacy. As a result of the decision, law enforcement in Massachusetts is now required to obtain a warrant before accessing this data provided that there are no exigent circumstances.

How the Case Arose

The case, Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. Almonor, involved law enforcement “pinging” the cell phone of a person suspected of murder to access location data. This information was ultimately used to pinpoint the suspect’s location. In support of this action, the state argued that it was able to obtain cell phone location data without a warrant provided the information was less than six hours old.

A trial court, however, did not agree with the state, and an appeal resulted. The opposing side responded by filing an amicus brief that asked the appellate court to recognize the decision of United States v. Carpenter, in which the United States Supreme Court held that people have a constitutional right to privacy concerning their physical movement. Because location data produced by a cell phone is capable of revealing a person’s every movement, law enforcement must obtain a warrant to access this information.

The Court’s Decision in Almonor

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ultimately held that manipulating a person’s phone to track an individual’s location constitutes an intrusion. In arriving at its decision, the court acknowledged that cell phone use is common in society and that a phone’s location is often synonymous with a person’s location. The court noted that society’s expectation is that law enforcement is not able to freely identify a person’s location. While the defendant raised both federal and state arguments, the court’s ultimate decision rested on Article 14 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights.

What the Decision Means for Others

There are a number of other cell phone privacy cases in Massachusetts and the rest of the country that will likely be influenced by this decision. Because the court in this case held that accessing this location data is an unreasonable search, cell phone users can expect to have their privacy rights respected.

What Happens When Law Enforcement Performs an Unlawful Cell Phone Search

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution states that individuals have a right to be protected from unlawful searches and seizures. If a law enforcement officer violates your Fourth Amendment rights by performing an unlawful cell phone search, courts of law are able to exclude any improperly obtained evidence.

After blocking illegally obtained evidence, prosecution often experiences difficulty in satisfying all of the elements of a criminal offense beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecution is not able to satisfy every element of an offense, it is likely that a court will dismiss the charge.

Speak with an Experienced Massachusetts Criminal Defense Attorney

No matter the criminal offense with which you are charged, it is important to assert your cell phone privacy rights. Contact criminal defense attorney Edward Molari today to schedule a free initial consultation.

Defending Against Sex Crime Charges in Massachusetts

An Uber driver in Massachusetts was recently charged with two counts of rape in connection with an alleged sexual assault that occurred while the driver was traveling through Boston. After the alleged victim of assault was transported to an area hospital, law enforcement received a report of the incident and performed an investigation, which led to the driver’s arrest.

Following the arrest, law enforcement collected forensic evidence to further investigate the matter. In response to the arrest, Uber issued a statement about how horrible the crime was and stating that Massachusetts remains committed to law enforcement.

If you have been arrested and charges with a sex offense in Massachusetts, you should understand that these offenses are serious, which is why it often becomes critical to obtain the assistance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. This is true no matter if you have been charged with assault with intent to commit rape, failure to register as a sex offender, indecent assault and battery, indecent exposure, open and gross lewdness, possession of child pornography, or rape.

The following will review some of the defenses that can be raised in response to these and other sex related criminal charges in Massachusetts.

Establishing that Offense Never Occurred

One of the strongest defenses is arguing that sex acts never occurred between the person being charged and the alleged victim. In some cases, this might lead to a criminal defense attorney gathering evidence to show that someone accused you of the offense in a malicious manner. If this evidence can be established, the prosecution will be left unable to prove that a person committed a sexual offense beyond a reasonable doubt.

While the Offense Occurred, Someone Else Committed it

Instead of arguing that an offense did not occur, this strategy involves establishing that the defendant was not the individual who committed the crime. It is important to understand that false identifications are common in sexual offenses for a number of reasons including that eyewitness identification is often not reliable. By providing enough doubt about whether a person is the exact individual who committed the offense, the prosecution will not be able to adequately establish this element of the crime.

The Act Occurred, but Was Not Criminal

Rather than point out the event did not happen or the wrong individual is being charged, this defense involves proving that no crime occurred in relation to a sexual act with which to charge someone. For example, in some cases involving “lack of consent,” the prosecution is unable to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the criminal offense even occurred.

Speak with a Skilled Criminal Defense Lawyer

Being convicted of rape or any other sex offense in Massachusetts can result in serious penalties, but fortunately there are a number of defenses that can be raised in response to these charges. If you or a loved one is facing these charges, you should not hesitate to contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer like attorney Edward R Molari today.

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