Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

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.

Massachusetts Open Arrest Warrants

Statistics reveal that each year, millions of Americans are listed as wanted on arrest warrants. In Massachusetts, there are currently over 390,000 open arrest warrants. Some of these cases remain open for years and some are forgotten by law enforcement as new warrants are filed. A recent study reveals that there are currently more than 5.7 million open arrest warrants in 27 states, which is the equivalent of over 80% of Massachusetts’ population. Massachusetts officials have declined to break down details about the warrants by offense or provide any specific information about the types of charges that are represented. Many of these warrants, however, arise from minor offenses like not paying a parking ticket or failing to obtain a dog license.

Law enforcement frequently issues warrants when they have evidence that a person committed a criminal offense but have not yet arrested or located in the individual. Even after an arrest warrant is issued, a person will often remain free provided that he or she does not encounter law enforcement officers who are aware of the warrant’s presence.

Having a Massachusetts warrant issued for your arrest can be a frightening experience. If you need help removing an outstanding warrant, our law firm is prepared to provide you with the strong legal representation necessary to resolve your case.

Reasons Why Warrants are Issued in Massachusetts

Courts in Massachusetts issue warrants for a number of different reasons, which include the following:

  • Missing a court appearance

  • Missing a court payment

  • Missing a probation fee

  • Violating probation conditions

In many cases, a person only learns about a warrant when the individual either tries to renew a driver’s license, obtains a new job, or fills out any type of government application.

The Role of Massachusetts Default Warrants

One of the most common types of warrants that are issued by judges in Massachusetts are default warrants, which are issued when a person fails to appear in court for a scheduled date. If a person is not present at this date, a judge will often issue an arrest warrant for the individual’s arrest. It is common for warrants to be around years before they present an obstacle for a person. Unfortunately, old and open warrants still have the potential to result in arrest, detention, the suspension of a person’s driver’s license, the denial of government benefits, and even loss of employment. While a person might have a good reason for missing a court appearance, courts might not be aware or a judge might find that the reason is insufficient. If you discover a warrant has been issued for your arrest, you should not hesitate to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer.

Speak with an Experienced Defense Attorney

If there is an open warrant out for your arrest, reach out to an experienced criminal defense attorney. Contact Attorney Edward Molari today to schedule an initial free case evaluation. Attorney Molari understands just frightening it can be to have an open warrant out for your arrest, and he can help your case resolve in the best possible manner.

Defending Against Massachusetts Kidnapping Charges

A man in Bedford, Massachusetts was recently accused of breaking into a home. The victim told law enforcement that he was held at knifepoint and forced to drive to various locations throughout Massachusetts. Eventually, however, the suspect exited the victim’s vehicle and the victim contacted law enforcement. Later, a search discovered a knife inside the victim’s vehicle. Law enforcement also managed to obtain footage from a surveillance camera and later obtained a warrant for the suspect’s arrest. When law enforcement later spotted a man in Florida matching his description, FBI agents swarmed on the area and arrested the suspect. The suspect now faces charges in Massachusetts connected to armed home invasion, kidnapping, armed assault, armed assault in a dwelling, and burglary.

Massachusetts Law Chapter 265 section 26 defines kidnapping as the unauthorized confinement of another individual of any age against his or her will. Physical injury against a person is not required. Merely refusing to allow an individual to leave a confined space can equate to kidnapping. Under Massachusetts law, kidnapping is also found when a person demands something of value in exchange for freeing an individual. Kidnapping can also occur when a non-custodial parent takes a minor child without first obtaining the consent of the custodial parent.

Proving Kidnapping Charges

To convict a person of kidnapping, Massachusetts prosecutors must establish that several elements occurred, which include the following:

  • The person being charged must have lacked lawful authority concerning the control of the victim.

  • The person being charged forcibly or secretly confined the other individual.

  • The confinement was against the will of the individual.

  • There was a demand for something valuable, the use of a weapon, or sexual assault of the victim.

Common Defenses to Kidnapping Charges

There are a number of defenses that can be raised in response to kidnapping charges, which include the following:

  • If the victim consented to the taking and confinement, then the act was not against his or her will.

  • Some types of kidnapping, such as kidnapping with the intent to extort money, require a specific state of a mind. If it can be establish that this state of mind was not present, a person will be able to create a strong defense to a kidnapping charge.

An experienced criminal defense attorney can review your case and determine the best way to create a strong defense strategy in response to these charges.

Speak with an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you are charged with kidnapping or any other comparable offense, you can be facing serious penalties. It is often a wise idea in these situations to quickly obtain the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney like Edward Molari. Contact Attorney Molari today to schedule an initial free case evaluation.

Driving While High on Marijuana in Massachusetts

A court in Massachusetts recently held that law enforcement in the state is still able to arrest individuals for driving under the influence of marijuana if signs of the impairment are visible. This decision comes at a time when more retail marijuana stores are opening up throughout the state. The ruling came from a case involving a driver who was arrested on the Massachusetts Turnpike after he was pulled over by Massachusetts law enforcement for driving 80 mph as well as tailgating other vehicles.

At the time of the accident, there were two other passengers in the vehicle, and law enforcement detected a strong odor of marijuana emanating from inside of the vehicle. A jury later acquitted the man on the drugged driving and firearm possession charges, but did find that the man was guilty of a drug possession charge. The man later appealed the arrest based on law enforcement’s search of the vehicle, which led to discovery of oxycodone, cocaine, and a firearm.

The appellate court, however, held that the initial arrest for driving while under the influence of marijuana was lawful. In reaching its opinion, the court noted that it can be difficult to determine marijuana impairment because there are not any validated field sobriety tests.

Even though recreational use of marijuana is now legal in the state of Massachusetts, driving while high on marijuana is still prohibited, even if the drug has been prescribed to a person by a doctor. The prosecution, however, often has a difficult time pursuing operating under the influence (OUI) charges because there is not an accepted standard for cannabis or THC impairment. The following is a brief examination of how these charges are treated in the state of Massachusetts.

Why Testing for OUI of Marijuana is Challenging

As of January 2019, no one has been able to create a test that can reliably detect the presence of marijuana in the bloodstream. Some of the factors that make it particularly difficult to test for marijuana impairment:

  • THC in marijuana is stored in a person’s fat cells where the substance can remain for a significant period of time, sometimes long after the driver has used marijuana.

  • Not only does law enforcement need to worry about the presence of marijuana on a person’s breath, drivers can also consume edible products containing marijuana.

  • The effects of THC on a person vary substantially based on the physiology of individual in question.

  • Secondhand marijuana smoke has the potential to create a contact high in people who do not smoke. Even if a device could be created to detect the presence of marijuana in individuals, there is a risk that people exposed to secondhand smoke would be deemed intoxicated through no fault of their own.

Speak with an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you are charged with a marijuana-related offense in Massachusetts, the resulting penalties can be serious. To avoid the numerous potential penalties, contact an experienced drug crime defense attorney. Schedule an initial free case evaluation with Attorney Edward Molari today for assistance.

Illegal Firearm Charges in Massachusetts

A Massachusetts Appeals Court recently ruled that law enforcement in the state did not have a reasonable ground to deny a business owner a gun license, and subsequently ordered the department to issue the man a license for self protection. As a business owner, the man sought a firearm because he is responsible for closing the store at night and making cash deposits at a bank and was recently robbed at gunpoint.

After the man was robbed at gunpoint, it was suggested by law enforcement that the man obtain a license to carry a firearm. As a result, the man went to a police station in Dorchester in 2013 and applied for a firearm license. Despite the man stating that he needed the firearm for self protection, the officer who helped him wrote “sport and target” down on his application. The man later received a Class A license to carry a firearm, which was limited to sport and target.

Law enforcement later wrote the man a letter stating that he had failed to demonstrate an adequate purpose for holding an unrestricted firearm license. Law enforcement also later argued that the recommendation that the man obtain a firearm for protection was really the result of a misunderstanding, citing the man’s criminal history.

While the man had not been convicted of a crime, he was charged with various nonviolent crimes between 2005 and 2010. After petitioning a Boston court for judicial review, the court later held that law enforcement in Massachusetts has a right to prohibit individuals who are classified as “unsuitable” from receiving firearm licenses.

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees each person the right to bear arms. While the Second Amendment is recognized by many people as a fundamental American right, the right has also become a great source of controversy over the last few years. Currently, Massachusetts has several laws prohibiting the use of firearms in the state, which will be reviewed below.

Illegally Carrying Firearms

Massachusetts law prohibits individuals from knowingly possessing a loaded or unloaded firearm provided that several conditions are met. First, that person must not be present at his or her own residence or place of business, the person must not have a required firearm license, and the person must possess an illegal weapon.

Possession of an Unlicensed Firearm at Home or Work

Laws in Massachusetts prohibit individuals from possessing firearms without a license or permit even if that individual is located in his or her residence or place of business. Violations of these laws result in penalties of two years maximum imprisonment.

Carrying a Firearm on a Public Path

Massachusetts law prohibits individuals from carrying firearms on a public way, which includes streets, sidewalks, or other public areas. If a firearm is loaded, a person can end up facing a maximum of two years in prison as well as substantial fines.

Possession of a Firearm in Commission of a Felony

If a person is charged with a felony and possessed a firearm during the commission of an offense, he or she can expect to be charged with additional criminal penalties.

Obtain the Services of a Skilled Criminal Defense Lawyer

When it comes to illegal firearm possession in Massachusetts, there are a number of serious charges with which a person in Massachusetts can be charged. Contact Attorney Edward Molari today to schedule an initial free case evaluation. Attorney Molari understands the complex issues that can arise in these cases and will remain committed to creating the strongest defense possible.

Responding to Massachusetts Indecent Assault Charges

Massachusetts State Police recently arrested a magician who is claimed to have inappropriately touched three students during magic classes. The arrest occurred at the man’s home, where he was charged with indecent assault and battery. The man allegedly assaulted several young victims at magic classes that were held at his Rockland residence in the early 2000s when he was a member of the Society of Young Magicians. The arrest occurred after a four-month investigation by law enforcement. It has been reported that the man denies the allegations that have been made against, but he is currently being held on a $2,000 bond.

Types of Indecent Assault in Massachusetts

Indecent assault and battery in Massachusetts is divided into two categories based on the age of the victim. The first category involves indecent assault and battery against children who are below the age of 14, while the second category includes indecent assault and battery against a person who is 14 years of age or older.

Elements of an Indecent Assault Offense

In proving an indecent assault allegation, the prosecution is required to establish four elements, which include:

  • The alleged victim’s age

  • The person being charged must have touched the victim without permission or done so in a way that was not justifiable

  • The person being charged performed an act that was indecent or fundamentally offensive according to accepted standards of decency

  • The victim must not have consented to the touching. In situations in which the offense involved a person below the age of 14, the prosecution is not required to establish this consent element because the law views people below the age of 14 as unable to provide consent.

Penalties Associated With Indecent Assault and Battery

If you have been charged with indecent assault and battery, it is critical to promptly obtain the assistance of a skilled criminal defense attorney because otherwise there is a serious risk that you can end up facing substantial penalties. Indecent assault and battery in Massachusetts is classified as a felony. A person who is convicted of indecent assault and battery on an individual who is 14 years of age or older can end up facing two and a half to five years in jail for a first-time offense. Additional aggravating factors, however, exist if the victim of the offense is either disabled or elderly or if the person charged has previous convictions on his or her record.

The penalties associated with indecent assault and battery against a child below the age of 14 are much more serious, at two and a half to 10 years in prison. A person convicted of the offense will also be required to register as a sex offender, which can create significant obstacles in regards to a person’s ability to pursue housing and job opportunities.

Contact a Knowledgeable Criminal Defense Attorney

Many people who are convicted of indecent assault in Massachusetts find that these charges impact their career, education, and private lives. If you or a loved one is charged with indecent assault or another similar crime, you should not hesitate to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Contact Attorney Edward Molari today to schedule an initial free case evaluation.

Defending Against Attempted Murder Charges in Massachusetts

A man in Boston was recently arrested in connection with a stabbing. The arrest occurred when law enforcement found a man in his late 20s with stab wounds. While the man initially refused medical attention, he was later sent to a nearby hospital with injuries that were not believed to be life threatening. Law enforcement claims that a suspect was then identified and arrested at a hospital where he had sought treatment for a laceration. The man who was arrested now faces a number of charges including attempted murder. Because a conviction for attempted murder in Massachusetts results in serious penalties, a person in the state who is facing these charges should understand some important details about how these charges are raised.

What is an Attempted Crime?

The Massachusetts law concerning attempted crime states that these offenses can result in serious penalties. Attempted murder is a crime in which a person’s guilt depends on the person’s intentions. To convict a person of attempted murder, prosecution must establish that an individual had the specific intent to kill and acted with malice. In cases involving attempted murder, malice refers to the lack of an excuse, justification, or mitigation to commit the murder.

The Overt Action Requirement

In Massachusetts, to convict a person of attempted murder, the prosecution must establish that the defendant’s actions constituted an overt act, which is a physical action that a person could reasonably expect to create a series of events that would result in the crime. In cases of attempted murder, this overt action is one designed to result in death and committed with the intent that death occur. It is important to understand that an overt act does not require preparation or solicitation. Some of the actions that are often interpreted as representing overt actions include the following:

  • Breaking into a home with the intent to kill the victim

  • Making efforts to lure the victim to an isolated location where the murder will occur.

  • Purchasing a firearm or bomb to be used to kill the individual.

  • Tracking or stalking the intended victim by hiding out and observing the victim or following the victim with the intent to commit the murder.

Defenses to Attempted Murder in Massachusetts

It is often difficult for prosecution in Massachusetts to convict a person of attempted murder. The offense is most often used when a person is charged with simple assault or domestic assault and prosecution wants to utilize a more serious charge. One of the strongest defenses that can be raised in response to attempted murder charges is that a person lacked malice or did not have the necessary intent for attempted murder.

Contact a Skilled Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or a loved one faces criminal charges in Massachusetts, you should not hesitate to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. Contact attorney Edward R Molari today to schedule an initial free consultation during which time we will review your various available options to respond to these charges.

Defending Against Firearm Possession Charges in Massachusetts

A man and woman in Pepperell were recently arrested in relationship to a large-scale firearm theft involving several semi-automatic weapons and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition. The arrest occurred after law enforcement found two individuals with two outstanding New Hampshire warrants sleeping in a residence. The pair is currently being held pending arraignment. Additional investigation led Massachusetts law enforcement to a residence where 16 weapons were found, including three AR-15s, two AK-47s, four semi-automatic rifles, and numerous pistols. As a result of this additional finding, Massachusetts law enforcement has announced plans to file additional charges.

Massachusetts firearm laws are particularly strict, and being convicted for most gun or firearm crimes results in mandatory jail or prison sentences. These charges arise in a number of different criminal offenses including armed robbery and murder. In some situations, gun charges can also be initiated against individuals who are charged with the gun crimes independent of an offense. In either situation, it is a wise idea to understand some important details about these charges.

Unlawful Possession of a Machine Gun Charge

Massachusetts law prohibits the possession of a machine gun except those owned by law enforcement. This law defines a machine gun as any weapon that is loaded or unloaded and capable of automatically or rapidly discharging shots by one continuous trigger activation.

A person who is convicted of unlawfully possessing a machine gun can face a maximum life sentence. The reason why these offenses result in particularly serious penalties is that machine guns are traditionally associated with very serious crimes.

One of the best ways to defend against these charges involves arguing that the certain criteria to satisfy the offense are not met. Many people charged with this offense create strong defenses by establishing that the firearm in question did not meet the definition of a “machine gun.”

Unlawful Possession of a Large Capacity Firearm or Feeding Device

Law in Massachusetts also prohibits the unlawful possession of a large capacity firearm or feeding device. A person who is convicted of this offense faces up to 10 years in prison. Law enforcement takes these offenses seriously because these weapons have the potential to do a substantial amount of damage.

Much like machine gun charges, many defenses to this law rely on establishing that firearms involved in an offense do not meet Massachusetts’ definition of a “large capacity weapon.”  These weapons include semi-automatic weapons with a fixed large capacity feeding device, semi-automatics capable of accepting detachable large capacity feeding devices, employing a rotating cylinder capable of accepting more than 10 rounds of ammunition in a rifle or firearm, or an assault weapon.

Speak with an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer

No matter the Massachusetts criminal offense with you are charged, it is important to understand that the resulting penalties can be particularly serious. As a result, you should not hesitate to speak with a seasoned criminal defense attorney like Edward R Molari. Contact attorney Molari today to schedule an initial free consultation.