Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

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.

What is Required for a Receipt of Stolen Property Conviction?

For many people who purchase items online with some frequency, it is not unusual to receive more than what you paid for from time to time. While many people respond to these situations by keeping the extra items, a Massachusetts case has called into question whether this is the best way to proceed.

Recently, a man in Massachusetts decided to keep a flat screen TV that had been sent to his home by mistake and as a result, the man was arrested and charged with larceny. The man was sent a TV that was 10” larger than the one he had ordered. The man decided to keep the TV. The shipping company that wrongly delivered the TV, however, made several efforts to contact the man before involving law enforcement in the matter.

Even though it might seem like there is nothing wrong with what the man did, this example provides a reminder of why a person should think twice about keeping property that was wrongly sent to them. The following will review some of the laws that come into play when property offenses are involved.

Massachusetts Law Regarding the Receipt of Stolen Property

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 266 Section 60 states that any individual who helps conceal stolen property that he or she knew was stolen is at risk of being charged with receipt of stolen property.

This offense can result in over two years in jail for first offense as well as over five years in prison for a second or additional offense. A person can also end up facing more than five years in prison if the value of the property stolen is greater than $250.

The Elements of a Receipt of Stolen Property Offense

In Massachusetts, the prosecution must establish before a court of law that several elements exist to convict an individual of receiving stolen property. These elements include the following:

  • The property was stolen. Demonstrating this element requires the prosecution to establish that a person took and carried away property without the right to do so or the consent of the owner. The person who is charged must also have intended to deprive the property owner of the property permanently.

  • The person being charged was aware that the property was stolen. Establishing this element requires proving that the defendant had actual knowledge that the property was stolen.

  • The person being charged possessed, purchased, or helped to conceal the stolen property. For the purpose of this element, an individual is determined to have “received” property if that individual takes custody or control of the property.

Speak with an Experienced Accident Attorney

Being charged with larceny can result in serious penalties. If you or a loved one needs the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney to respond to such charges, contact attorney Edward R Molari to schedule a free initial consultation.

A Refresher on Massachusetts Marijuana Laws

At the end of March 2019, law enforcement in Whitman announced that a suspect was facing marijuana and weapons charges after the man was discovered selling drinks containing THC to an undercover law enforcement officer on three separate occasions. This behavior led law enforcement to search the suspect’s home and motor vehicle, which are both located in Whitman, Massachusetts. Law enforcement reports that it discovered approximately 140 bottles of THC-containing drinks in addition to other extracts.

Massachusetts was the seventh state in the country to legalize adult-use cannabis and has served a number of customers since the stores first opened. Despite this, there are still some important marijuana laws that must be followed in Massachusetts. One of these regulations includes restrictions on the amount of marijuana that a person is allowed to possess. Failure to comply with these laws can result in a person facing substantial penalties. The following will review some of the important details about marijuana in Massachusetts.

Where Marijuana can be Used

A person has a great degree of discretion on how he or she uses marijuana at home, but there are certain locations in Massachusetts where marijuana use is prohibited. For example, a person in Massachusetts cannot use marijuana in any form while on either public or federal land. A person in Massachusetts is also prohibited from having any type of open container with marijuana while in a motor vehicle that is on the road or at a place the public can access. If a person travels with marijuana, an individual must keep the amount stored in a closed container in a glove compartment or trunk.

The Amount a Person is Allowed to Possess

Even though marijuana usage is more acceptable than it once was, Massachusetts has placed a limit on how much marijuana a person may possess. A person is allowed to have up to one ounce of marijuana on his or her physical person and up to 10 ounces of marijuana inside his or her home. If a person does have more than an ounce of marijuana at home, it must be locked up to avoid children or pets from consuming it accidentally.

Recreational Growth Limits

Unlike many other states, Massachusetts allows individuals to grow marijuana in their residences with some limitations. A person is allowed to grow up to six plants at home and a total of 12 plants for two or more adults.

Vehicle Restrictions

A person in Massachusetts is prohibited from driving immediately after using marijuana. if a person uses marijuana, he or she should arrange alternative methods of transportation.

Speak with an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you or a loved one is charged with a marijuana-related offense in Massachusetts, you should not hesitate to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Contact attorney at law Edward R. Molari today to schedule a free initial consultation.

Responding to Child Pornography Charges

A man in Winchester was recently arrested on charges of child pornography including posing and exhibiting a child in sexual acts, photographing an unsuspecting nude person, and possession of child pornography. The man was subsequently arraigned in Woburn District Court. This recent case is just one part of a recent investigation by Winchester law enforcement and occurred after law enforcement executed a search warrant on the man’s home.

Sometimes, innocent individuals in Massachusetts end up facing child pornography charges and serious penalties if convicted. Fortunately, there are a number of strong defenses that can be raised in response to these charges. Because the exact defense that will work best for a case depends on a number of complex factors, it is often a wise idea to obtain the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. The following are just some of the available defenses that can be raised in response to child pornography charges. Your criminal defense attorney can help you craft the defense that will be most effective in your case.

The Content was Not Pornographic in Nature

It is possible for material to be sexual in nature, but not pornographic. For example, material depicting child in a sexual pose might be merely erotic instead of pornography. A person cannot be convicted of child pornography for possessing content that is merely provocative or suggestive in nature and not actually pornographic.

The Evidence was the Result of an Unlawful Search or Seizure

The Fourth Amendment protects individuals from searches or seizures that are unreasonable in nature. If evidence was taken from your home as a result of an unlawful search or seizure, you likely can create a strong argument that your constitutional rights were violated and that the evidence cannot now be used as evidence against you.

The People Depicted in the Material are Over 18

There are some types of pornography that feature adults who only appear childlike. There is nothing illegal about this type of content. If the material does not depict any minors, then you likely have a strong defense that can be raised in response to a charge of child pornography.

You Did Not Intentionally Purchase the Materials

In some cases, receiving large amounts of lawful pornography online leads to a person also receiving illegal images or video without his or her knowledge. In other situations, computers can be hacked and child pornography might be downloaded without a person’s knowledge. In either of these situations, there is likely a strong defense that can be raised in response to these charges.

Speak with an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been charged with a child pornography offense, you should understand just how serious these charges can be. Being convicted of child pornography possession or another comparable offense can create numerous obstacles in a person’s life, including barriers to holding a professional license, continuing a career, and being respected by the community. Individuals who are charged with these crimes should not hesitate to obtain the assistance of an experienced attorney. Contact Attorney Edward Molari today to speak with a skilled criminal attorney who will remain committed to fighting for the results you deserve.

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