Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

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Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

Drugs and School Zone Statutes

 

In Massachusetts, if you are convicted of a drug offense within a school zone, playground, or public park, you could face stiff punishment and even prison time. This legislation, known as the "School Zone" statute, is designed to keep the environment around children drug-free and reduce drug possession in public schools, parks, and playgrounds. The school zone statute and other drug laws in the Commonwealth can be difficult to understand to the average person. You should consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney if you need immediate legal advice.

According to Massachusetts General Law,

"Any person who violates the provisions of [G. L.c. 94C, §§ 32, 32A-32F, or 32I,] while in or on, or within 300 feet of the real property comprising a public or private accredited preschool, accredited headstart facility, elementary, vocational, or secondary school if the violation occurs between [5 A.M.] and midnight, whether or not in session, or within one hundred feet of a public park or playground shall be punished by a term of imprisonment in the state prison for not less than two and one-half nor more than fifteen years or by imprisonment in a jail or house of correction for not less than two nor more than two and one-half years. No sentence imposed under the provisions of this section shall be for less than a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of two years. A fine of not less than [$1,000] nor more than [$10,000] may be imposed but not in lieu of the mandatory minimum two year term of imprisonment as established herein. In accordance with the provisions of [G. L. c. 279, § 8A,] such sentence shall begin from and after the expiration of the sentence for violation of [the predicate offense]. Lack of knowledge of school boundaries shall not be a defense to any person who violates the provisions of this section."

This law was created by the Massachusetts legislature in response to public outcry that more should be done to protect children from drugs. While some people support the law, others believe that it may be unfair and violate a person's due process rights. Some opponents of the law say it could unfairly punish innocent people who may not be drug users, recreational drug users utilizing less than one ounce of marijuana, or individuals who may find themselves in a situation in which they possess a controlled substance within 300 feet of a school or 100 feet of a public park by chance and not by design or purpose to sell or distribute drugs in a school zone.

The law carries severe mandatory minimum jail sentences that can result in up to 15 years in state prison. A conviction will carry a mandatory minimum prison sentence of two years behind bars. If you have been accused or charged with a school zone drug violation you should speak with a well-versed criminal defense attorney who can help protect your rights and create an effective defense strategy for your case.

If you are arrested for selling or distributing over an ounce of marijuana to a family member or friend for personal or recreational use within 300 feet of a school in Massachusetts you can face a mandatory jail sentence under this legislation. Mandatory means that your sentence will not be lowered and you must serve some time in jail. The Commonwealth takes drug offenses very seriously.

If you have been accused or charged with a drug offense or a school zone violation involving drugs, you should immediately consult a criminal defense attorney. The consequences can be devastating and may include jail or prison time and hefty fines. Boston Criminal Defense Attorney Edward Molari can provide you with legal advice that may help reduce the punishment or lessen the charge. He cares about your situation and provides personalized legal services in every case. Contact Attorney, Edward Molari at 617-942-1532 for a free consultation.

 

 

Do Not Hit and Run

18-year-old Billy was racing home in his car in an attempt to beat his dad to the house. Billy stayed out past his curfew of 12:30 am. In the process of speeding, he sideswiped a car and kept going without stopping. His main focus at the time was jumping into bed to appear he was at home sleeping before his dad got off work.

Billy did beat his dad home, but Billy worried all night regarding his misdeed. He had nightmares of jail time because of his reckless and irresponsible behavior. Billy should be worried, he committed a "Hit and Run." Due to his actions, Billy may not only be in big trouble with his dad, but also with the law.

"Hit and Run," or leaving the scene of a car accident without leaving your contact or insurance information, can become a serious crime. Depending on the situation, it can result in a simple traffic ticket or a felony charge. The punishment will depend on the nature of the case, whether you destroyed personal property or caused human injury, suffering, or death. The punishment usually increases when personal injury or death occurs. In any case, you should contact a criminal defense attorney immediately and discuss your legal options.

In the Commonwealth, failure to stop after a car collision, not exchanging insurance information, or refusing to call the local police is considered a misdemeanor under MGL c. 90 s. 24. The crime of leaving the scene involving property damage may include the following penalties if you are convicted.

  • A $200 fine

  • A 60-day to one-year loss of license

  • A two-year jail sentence

To be convicted of this crime, it must be proven that you knew about the property damage or accident when you left the scene of the crime. Leaving the scene of an accident involving personal injury may carry harsher penalties for those convicted. The punishment may include:

  • A jail sentence of six months to two years

  • A fine of $500 - $1,000

  • Loss of license for a minimum of one year and up to an indefinite amount of time

If you are convicted a second time for leaving the scene of an accident involving personal injury, the penalties will include a loss of license for a minimum of two years. Leaving the scene of an accident involving a personal injury resulting in death is a felony in the Commonwealth, and you will be required to serve a mandatory minimum of one year in jail.

Leaving the scene of an accident with personal injury resulting in death is a very serious crime.  You need to hire a skilled criminal defense attorney, who knows the law and appropriate defenses for such cases. Punishment for leaving the scene of an accident with a personal injury resulting in death may include:

  • A loss of license for a minimum of three years and up to an indefinite amount of time

  • Fines between $1,000 and $5000

  • A minimum of one year in jail and up to 10 years in prison

If you have been accused or charged with "hit and run" or leaving the scene of an accident, you should immediately consult a criminal defense attorney. The consequences can be devastating and may include jail time, license suspension, and fines. Boston Criminal Defense Attorney, Edward Molari can provide you with legal advice that may help reduce the punishment or lessen the charge. He cares about your situation and provides personalized legal services in every case.  Contact Attorney, Edward Molari at 617-942-1532 for a free consultation.

 

Vehicular Manslaughter

Vehicular manslaughter is a crime that is committed by a driver who unintentionally causes an accident that results in the death of someone else. It can include the death of a passenger, driver, or pedestrian who was accidentally killed by the actions of a reckless driver. A person other than the driver of the car can be charged with vehicular manslaughter, as well. If you are charged with this crime, you should contact a criminal defense attorney immediately to learn your legal options and defenses. You can be charged with vehicular manslaughter for the following reasons:

  • Driving under the influence or alcohol or drugs: Causing a fatal accident while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can lead to a vehicular manslaughter charge. Intoxication can be proven through chemical evidence (blood, breath or urine tests) and other incriminating facts.

  • Being a careless or negligent driver: Negligent driving may include texting or talking on a cell phone while driving. If a driver takes his or her eyes of the highway while reaching to turn on the radio or rolling up a car window and causes a fatal accident, he or she may be charged with vehicular manslaughter.

  • Violating a safety statute: You can be charged with vehicular manslaughter when you violate a safety stature. If you perform an illegal U-turn or pass another vehicle while driving through a no passing zone and accidentally kill someone, you may be charged with vehicular manslaughter.

In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, you can be charged with motor vehicle homicide or manslaughter by motor vehicle. The charges for motor vehicle homicide can be a misdemeanor or felony. It depends on many factors, such as if the driver was impaired by drugs or alcohol. For any motor vehicle homicide conviction in the Commonwealth, you could lose your license for up to 15 years. If you had a prior OUI conviction, your license could be suspended for life. The punishment for motor vehicle homicide is outlined in MGL Chapter 90, Section 24G.

You can face a stiffer punishment if you are charged with manslaughter by motor vehicle, which is manslaughter while operating a motor vehicle in Massachusetts. According to Massachusetts Law Chapter 265-131/2, if you are convicted, penalties may include:

  • A mandatory minimum of five years in jail

  • A maximum of five to 20 years in prison

  • Fines up to $25,000

  • 15-year loss of driver's license

If you have been accused or charged with motor vehicle homicide or manslaughter by motor vehicle, you should immediately consult a criminal defense attorney. The consequences can be devastating and may include prison time, license suspension, and fines. Boston Criminal Defense Attorney, Edward Molari can provide you with legal advice that may help reduce the punishment or lessen the charge. He cares about your situation and provides personalized legal services in every case. Contact Attorney, Edward Molari at 617-942-1532 for a free consultation.

 

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Holiday Blues and OUI/DWI Arrests

The holiday season is a time for parties and celebrations with family or friends. One sure way to dampen the holiday spirit is for you to be charged or accused of an OUI/DWI (operating under the influence of alcohol or driving while intoxicated). This will zap the jolly out of the holiday season for you and the friend or family member who has to stop by the police station and get you out of jail. An OUI/DWI arrest is a real party pooper for everyone involved. Your first phone call should be to a criminal defense attorney who can provide you with legal advice and solutions to lessen your charges.

Often times OUI/DWI arrests increase during the holiday season as many law enforcement agencies are on high alert to find impaired drivers who are making the holiday travel season unsafe. The warning signs that may signal to a police officer that you are drinking and driving may include:

  • Driving too fast (speeding)

  • Driving too slow

  • Failing to stop at a stoplight or stopsign

  • Failing to yield

  • Driving erratically

  • Swerving and crossing lanes

Police officers can stop any motorist when they feel there is reasonable suspicion of driving while impaired or involvement in criminal activity. During the holiday season, police officers may conduct DUI checkpoints. DUI checkpoints are often referred to as a DUI roadblock or a sobriety checkpoint. DUI checkpoints are specific locales or streets by which police officers set up a roadblock to check motorists for signs of alcohol or drug usage.

DUI checkpoints are designed to ensure that the roads are safe for motorists and free of drunk drivers. While the practice is common, it is not legal in every state. However, Massachusetts is one of the states that makes it lawful to conduct DUI checkpoints. DUI checkpoints in the Commonwealth can be performed throughout the year.

After a police officer suspects you of operating a vehicle while impaired or under the influence of alcohol, he or she will usually ask you to perform a series of tests called field sobriety tests. These tests may include standing on one leg, walking a straight line, or speaking a few sentences to test abnormalities in your speech patterns. The police officer will check your eyes to determine pupil dilation.

If you fail the field sobriety tests, the officer will probably take you to the police station and ask you to participate in chemical blood alcohol level tests. These tests can be conducted by testing your blood, urine, or breath (breathalyzer). If you test above a .08% blood alcohol level, you will be charged with an OUI/DWI.

You can refuse to take a chemical blood alcohol level test. Your refusal can work against you sometimes, as a refusal of the test can invoke an implied consent statute. This automatically causes a suspension of your driver's license for a period of time.

In Massachusetts, a refusal to take a chemical blood alcohol level test will result in a six-month automatic license suspension. However, a refusal cannot be used to insinuate guilt in an OUI/DWI case. When you refuse to submit to a chemical blood alcohol level test after three prior DUI offenses, your license will be suspended for life.

If you have been accused or charged with an OUI/DWI, you should immediately consult a criminal defense attorney. The consequences can be devastating and may include jail time, license suspension, and fines. Boston Criminal Defense Attorney, Edward Molari can provide you with legal advice that may help reduce the punishment or lessen the charge. He cares about your situation and provides personalized legal services in every case.  Contact Attorney, Edward Molari at 617-942-1532 for a free consultation.

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The Link Between Disorderly Conduct and Indecent Exposure

Disorderly conduct (disturbing the peace) may seem like a simple and common act in the eyes of many people. It happens almost every day. However, in Massachusetts, you could face serious legal consequences if you are charged with disorderly conduct. When charged with disorderly conduct, you should speak with a criminal defense attorney who can explain the severe outcomes possible and help you understand your legal rights. In Massachusetts, the law defines a disorderly person as an individual whose actions cause alarm, annoyance, or inconvenience to the general public. These actions may include:

  • Fighting in public

  • Threatening behavior

  • Violent actions

  • Orchestrating a hazardous or offensive situation

In Massachusetts, the link between disorderly conduct and indecent exposure is outlined in Massachusetts Law Section 53. Both of these crimes are punishable under this statute. In both cases one can serve time in jail up to six months. They are each misdemeanor offenses.

Indecent exposure can range from urinating in public, displaying various forms of nudity, minor sexual acts, to open and gross lewdness. It is a deliberate exposure of private parts, such as one's buttocks, genitalia, or female breasts. To be convicted of indecent exposure, it must be proved that the defendant performed one of the following lewd acts:

  • Exposing their buttocks, genitals, or female breast to others

  • Intentionally exposing these private parts to others

  • Openly exposing private parts with the intent of revealing them to unwilling members of the public

  • Exposing oneself to create a distress or shock reaction

  • Succeeding in creating a shock or distress due to exposing one's private parts

However, indecent exposure can become more severe when it involves open and gross lewdness and lascivious behavior. Committing this form of indecent exposure is a felony offense. Open and gross lewdness and lascivious behaviors are prohibited and discussed in Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 272 Section 16. If you are convicted of this crime, you could serve time in the state prison for up to three years or jail time for up to two years and pay a fine.

This Massachusetts law was created to punish individuals who intentionally and openly participate in or showcase lewd sexual acts on unwilling people or the public.  The law does not apply to sexual expressions that may take place in an environment considered private. If a nosy neighbor peeks through your window to watch you and your spouse perform lewd and lascivious sexual acts in the privacy of your home, you will not be in violation of this law. However, if you display your bizarre fetish involving lewd and lascivious sexual acts on the front lawn or rooftop for everyone to see, you could not only shock your neighbors but also be charged with open and gross lewdness and lascivious behavior.

If you have been accused of disorderly conduct or a crime involving indecent exposure, it cannot only be embarrassing but also, it can have severe consequences on your life. You should contact a criminal defense attorney to explore your legal options. Boston Criminal Defense Attorney, Edward Molari can provide you with legal advice that may help reduce the punishment or lessen the charge. He cares about your situation and provides personalized legal services in every case.  Contact Attorney, Edward Molari at 617-942-1532 for a free consultation.

Crimes Involving Guns

Guns are often used in a variety of crimes. Many times, these guns are obtained illegally or stolen. If you have been charged with a crime involving a gun you need to speak with a reliable criminal defense attorney who can explain your legal options.

Massachusetts gun owners are required by law to report the loss, theft, or recovery of a gun to the Department of Criminal Justice Information Services and the licensing authority in the city of the owner's residence. A failure to make the appropriate report of loss or theft of the firearm can result in the suspension or permanent revocation of the owner's Firearm Identification Card or license to carry firearms in the Commonwealth.

Many times the guns that are stolen from everyday citizens are used to commit crimes in the community. Crimes involving guns may include the criminal possession of a gun. A possession of a gun may become illegal when:

  • The weapon of possession is illegal

  • A person is not allowed to possess a weapon

  • An individual carries a weapon in a particular area that prohibits firearms

It is illegal to possess a gun in a no-weapons zone, in a courthouse or other areas deemed illegal to carry a gun. Crimes involving a possession of a gun may include:

  • Carjacking with a deadly weapon

  • Battery with a deadly weapon

  • Armed robbery

Individuals who commit a crime utilizing a gun will make the incident more serious, resulting in a harsher penalty. A well-versed criminal defense attorney can discuss the possible outcomes and consequences of your case. Often a misdemeanor charge will become a felony charge if a gun is used to perpetrate the crime. Simple assault is often viewed as a misdemeanor with a lighter sentence, but assault with a deadly weapon will become a felony with harsher penalties and a longer jail sentence. Persons who usually cannot possess a gun include:

  • Minors

  • Mentally ill persons

  • Individuals with a felony conviction

  • Fugitives fleeing the law or justice

  • Illegal or unlawful aliens

There are many federal gun laws that have stiff penalties for crimes involving guns. You can serve up to 10 years for making a false statement to obtain a firearm. You can get up to five years in prison for carrying a gun inside a school zone. If you steal a firearm, ammunition, or explosives, you could face up to 10 years in prison. If you use or carry a firearm during the commission of a felony, your punishment could be five years to life in prison. In some cases, if a death occurred during the commission of a crime involving a firearm, you could receive the death penalty.

Crimes involving guns can have serious consequences and you may lose many of your rights and privileges if convicted. If you have been accused of crime involving a gun, you should immediately consult a criminal defense attorney. The outcomes can be devastating and may include significant jail or prison time and fines. Boston Criminal Defense Attorney, Edward Molari can provide you with legal advice that may help reduce the punishment or lessen the charge. He cares about your situation and provides personalized legal services in every case. Contact Attorney, Edward Molari at 617-942-1532 for a free consultation.

Holiday Gifts and Thieves

The holiday season is a joyous time of cheer and merriment, but it also can be a dangerous time when criminals break into homes or cars to steal presents. Breaking into cars as people shop for gifts always increase during the holiday season. Law enforcement suggests shoppers follow these rules to keep their presents save inside the car and away from holiday thieves.

  • Park your car in a well-lit and traveled area

  • Keep your car doors locked

  • Keep expensive items out of view

  • Put Christmas gifts in the trunk of car

  • Do not leave keys in the car

If you are charged with “breaking and entering” a car, home, or other personal property, the consequences can be serious. You should contact a criminal defense attorney immediately to learn your legal options.

Penalties will vary for "breaking and entering" into another person's home or personal property. It depends on the time of day the incident occurred. When the crime happened at night, the penalties may include up to 20 years in prison.

If the "breaking and entering" happened during the day hours, the perpetrator can get up to 10 years in prison. If the perpetrator was carrying a firearm, the penalties increase to a minimum of five years in prison.

To be convicted of “breaking and entering," it must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the following elements took place.

  • The perpetrator committed the crime during a particular time (night or day).

  • The perpetrator did break into a building, ship, vessel, or vehicle belonging to another person.

  • The perpetrator entered a building, ship, vessel, or vehicle belonging to another person.

  • The perpetrator had intent to commit a felony.

In the Commonwealth, it is also illegal to create or carry burglary tools with the intent to use them in a crime or allow these instruments to be used in a crime. These instruments could be tools for prying open doors, windows, vaults or other materials used for entry or stealing from the personal property of another person. The penalties for possessing a burglary tool with intent to use it may include up to 10 years in prison.

A crime that is associated with "breaking and entering" is trespass. To be charged with trespass, one must knowingly enter a private property or structure without any authority to enter the property or dwelling. Even though there is no intent to commit a crime inside, the unlawful entry of trespass is a crime by itself. You can be charged or arrested. Penalties for trespass include up to 30 days in jail, along with a fine or both.

If you have been accused of "breaking and entering" or a similar crime, you should immediately consult a criminal defense attorney. The consequences can be devastating and may include significant jail or prison time and fines. Boston Criminal Defense Attorney, Edward Molari can provide you with legal advice that may help reduce the punishment or lessen the charge. He cares about your situation and provides personalized legal services in every case.  Contact Attorney, Edward Molari at 617-942-1532 for a free consultation.

 

Halloween Pranks and Crimes

 

The little monsters, ghosts, and goblins will be out for a trick or treat on Halloween night, but there will also be criminals searching for opportunities to commit serious crimes. Here are a few Halloween pranks that can get you into heaps of trouble with the law on October 31st.

Vandalism, or destroying property, is a Halloween prank that can get your kids or you in trouble with the police. Egging a house may leave permanent damage, and owners may get mad and file a lawsuit against you. Even toilet papering a building could have legal consequences. Vandalism can carry very stiff penalties in the Commonwealth. If you have been accused of vandalism or destroying someone's property, you should speak with a criminal defense attorney and get legal help.  

Slashing tires or painting a car with shaving cream or toothpaste can be grounds for a visit to the local police headquarters. Halloween pranks may seem fun at the time, but they are illegal and can have severe legal outcomes.

Many communities have established curfews for Halloween night, and youngsters who do not take heed of these curfews may find themselves in trouble. Stealing a street sign or taking Halloween ornaments from a neighbor's yard may seem harmless, but these activities are considered crimes.

On Halloween night, college students may be more likely to consume alcohol while attending Halloween parties, and drunk driving and other alcohol-related offenses can rise during these celebrations. In the Commonwealth, driving under the influence of alcohol is a crime. In Massachusetts, the maximum blood alcohol level is 0.08% for adults drivers and 0.02% for a driver who is under 21 years of age. It is illegal for persons under 21 to drink alcohol. If you are charged with an alcohol-related offense (OUI/DUI) or underaged drinking, you should speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney.

If your adolescent child or teenager is involved in Halloween pranks and crimes, he or she can face serious consequences such as being detained by the juvenile court system, community service, probation, fines, and possibly a blemish on his or her public record for life. Adults who commit these crimes may face stiffer penalties that could include hefty fines and possible jail time.

Halloween can be a fun time, but it also can be a dangerous time for children who participate in the annual Night of Mischief. The website of The National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) provides safety tips for parents to ensure their children are safe on Halloween night. NCPC suggests the following safety tips:

  • Older kids should trick-or-treat in groups; kids walking around alone are never as safe as those in groups, and especially not at night. Younger kids should be accompanied by a parent or trusted neighbor.

  • Review the route for trick-or-treating beforehand and set a time set when kids should be home. Also, have a plan if your child gets separated from his or her friends or from you.

  • Remind your children not to enter strange houses or cars.

  • Remind your children not to eat treats until they have come home. To help ensure this, feed them a meal or a substantial snack before they go out.

  • Check all treats at home in a well-lighted place. Be especially wary of anything that is not wrapped by the factory or that is no longer sealed.

  • Remind kids not to eat everything at once, lest they be green even without the makeup

  • Ask your Neighborhood Watch or local citizen’s group to haunt (patrol) your community.

  • Report any suspicious or criminal activity to your police or sheriff’s department.

If you have been a victim of a Halloween prank or crime, you should call your local law enforcement for help. If you or your child has been accused of a Halloween crime, you should immediately consult a criminal defense attorney.

The consequences can be devastating and may include severe punishment or hefty fines, maybe both. Boston Criminal Defense Attorney, Edward Molari can provide you with legal advice that may help reduce the punishment or lessen the charge. He cares about your situation and provides personalized legal services in every case. Contact Attorney, Edward Molari at 617-942-1532 for a free consultation.

 

 

Citations and the Law

In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, individuals who commit a driving violation will receive a citation that may require an appearance in court, payment of a fine, loss of license, or jail time. However, G.L. c. 90C, § 2 states that a defendant should receive a copy of that traffic citation during the time and location of the violation or within a reasonable amount of time to determine the violation. When an improper or untimely citation is issued by the police, it can be used as a defense by the defendant. In fact, it could establish a motion for dismissal of the violation. If this happens to you, please hire a criminal defense attorney.

G.L. c. 90C, § 2, is commonly known as the "no-fix" law. It was created to reduce the risk of police manipulation of citations and to offer a notice to defendants of possible criminal charges. To use this as a defense or strategy for dismissal, you should consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney, who can outline a distinctive plan for your particular case. He can examine all factors that may result in a dismissal.

Major violations of Massachusetts traffic laws may include citations for driving while intoxicated or leaving the scene of an accident. These two incidents will carry harsh penalties in the Commonwealth. Minor traffic violations that may result in a citation may include driving too fast (speeding), driving too slow. or not observing traffic signs or signals correctly.

If an individual commits an act that warrants a citation, the police officer will not arrest the individual. However, you are required to identify yourself. When the police officer issues a citation, you will have to sign it. Signing a citation is not an admission of guilt. Your signature means that you received the citation and understand its terms. If you do not sign the citation, the police officer can charge you with a refusal to sign the citation.  The citation will also provide information about the time and location of your court appearance. You should remember to remain quiet because any statement you say can be used against you in court.

When receiving a citation, you will often have the option to request a hearing. In these hearings, you may get the opportunity to reduce your fine, create a payment plan or establish a community service alternative. However, if you wish to contest a citation, you can request a contested hearing by which you will contest your case before a judge. You should always speak with an attorney, who can help you in your contested hearing.

If you have been charged with a violation and improperly received a citation or did not receive one at all from the police officer, you should contact a criminal defense attorney to examine your case.  Boston Criminal Defense Attorney, Edward Molari can provide you with legal advice that may help reduce or dismiss your charges if any citation improprieties exist. He cares about your situation and provides personalized legal services in every case.  Contact Attorney, Edward Molari at 617-942-1532 for a free consultation.

 

Use of a Vehicle Without Authority

Jamil Campbell failed to stop at a stop sign in Boston, and he ended up being arrested for not being authorized to use a rental car, along with other charges. The rental car was impounded by police. Using a vehicle without authority is considered illegal in the Commonwealth. There is a gray area in this particular case because Campbell claims his mother gave him authority to use the vehicle and the rented car was officially in her name and not his. This case raises questions regarding who may grant authority to use a rental car, driving a rental car without permission, and the appropriate steps an arresting officer can take in this situation.

Use of a vehicle without authority in the Commonwealth is addressed under Massachusetts Law Chapter 90 Section 24. The law concludes that if you use a motor vehicle without the permission or authorization from its owner, you have committed a crime and you can be charged with use of a vehicle without authority. If you have been charged with such a crime, you should contact a reliable criminal defense attorney because this law can be complex and ambiguous. Your attorney may be able to get the charges dismissed. He or she can explain the key factors or elements that must be proven by the prosecution. According to Massachusetts Court 5.660 Instruction regarding the use of a vehicle without authority, the following elements must be proven in your case:

"The defendant is charged with knowingly using a motor vehicle

without authority.  Section 24(2)(a) of chapter 90 of our General Laws

provides that “. . . whoever uses a motor vehicle without authority knowing

that such use is unauthorized . . .” shall be punished.

In order to prove the defendant guilty of this offense, the

Commonwealth must prove three things beyond a reasonable doubt:

First:  That the defendant used a motor vehicle;

Second:  That at the time he (she) used that motor vehicle, he (she)

did so without the permission of the owner, or the permission of some

other person who possessed the legal right of control ordinarily exercised

by the owner; and

Third:  That at the time he (she) used the motor vehicle, the defendant

knew that he (she) was not authorized to use that vehicle.

A person “uses” a motor vehicle within the meaning of the law if he

rides in it, either as the driver or as a passenger. It is not necessary that the

defendant personally drove or controlled the vehicle, only that he (she)

rode in it while it moved. The Commonwealth may prove that the defendant was not authorized

to use the vehicle either by testimony from the owner or other person in

charge of the vehicle, or through inferences that you are reasonably able to

draw from all the circumstances.

Finally, the defendant must have known that his (her) use of the motor

vehicle was unauthorized.  If it has been proved that the defendant was a

passenger in the vehicle, that fact alone does not establish that he (she)

knew that he (she) was not authorized to use it.  You should consider all of

the circumstances, and any reasonable inferences which you can draw

from the evidence, in determining whether the defendant had actual

knowledge that his (her) use of the vehicle was unauthorized. If the

defendant did not know that his (her) use was unauthorized, you must find

him (her) not guilty. "

In Massachusetts, the punishment for the use of a vehicle without authority can have stiff consequences. When found guilty of a first offense, a person can serve a minimum of 30 days and up to two years in jail. He may have to pay fines up to $500. The consequences may be even harsher for second or third offenses.

If you have been charged with using a vehicle without authority and feel you have been wrongfully accused, you should speak with a criminal defense attorney immediately. The consequences can be devastating and may include jail or hefty fines, maybe both. Boston Criminal Defense Attorney, Edward Molari can provide you with legal advice that may help reduce the punishment or lessen the charge. He cares about your situation and provides personalized legal services in every case.  Contact Attorney, Edward Molari at 617-942-1532 for a free consultation.

 

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