Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

When an Inoperable Gun is a Dangrous Weapon

In Commonwealth v. Buttimer, the Supreme Judicial Court recently revisited a legal question that has arisen in the past, and which has been previously resolved, but never in a satisfactory way.  The issue in Buttimer was whether someone could be convicted of armed assault to rob, or assault with a dangerous weapon, where the weapon was a firearm that was not capable of discharging a shot.  It may seem like an academic question, but it comes up more than you might think. If the police allege that someone displayed or pointed a gun at someone else, the fact that the thing they pointed was a gun significantly increases the potential penalty, and moves the case from a misdameanor to a felony.  However, in order to prove that the object was an actual gun, the Commonwealth has to prove that it was actualy capable of discharging a bullet.  That means the object has to be recovered -- which happens a lot less than number of instances where someon points a gun at someone else.

An assault is an act that puts another person in reasonable fear of an imminent battery (a harful or offensive touching).

So, if someone points a gun at someone else, the fact that it appears to be a firearm is enough to make that person afraid, but is that enough to also make out an additional element that -- beyond just causing someone fear -- that the defendant did so with a dangerous weapon?

In 1970, the Supreme Judicial Court said it was, but the decision never made much sense to me. What the Court said was this:

The fundamental reason for permitting a conviction for simple assault on proof of apparent ability of the assailant to accomplish the attempted or threatened battery is that the public peace and order is affected by and dependent upon what is reasonably apparent, and not upon secret fact or reason rendering the assailant incapable of accomplishing the battery. The reason applies with even greater force to a case of apparent ability to accomplish a battery attempted or threatened by means of a firearm. The threat to the public peace and order is greater, and natural reactions thereto by the intended victim and others may be more sudden and violent than in cases where no weapon is involved. There is no reason why the rule of apparent ability should not apply to charges of aggravated assaults by means of weapons. It is sufficient to prove such a charge if the evidence shows an apparent ability to accomplish the battery by means of the particular weapon used. Thus, the mere fact that a firearm brandished by an assailant is known by him to be unloaded, or to be loaded with blank cartridges, does not entitle him to an acquittal on a charge of the aggravated offense of assault by means of a dangerous weapon.

The above analysis is essentially a non-sequiter. The Court observes that “the threat to the public peace and order is greater, and natural reactions thereto by the intended victim and others may be more sudden and violent than in cases where no weapon is involved,” and uses this observation to obviate an element of the crime -- that the alleged dangerous weapon was, in fact dangerous. This is the kind of mistake lawyers frequently try to teach juries to avoid -- using the excess of evidence of one element as a reason to fail to observe the complete absence of another.  The Court starts with the observation that an otherwise non-criminal act becomes an assault without regard to the secret knowledge of the perpetrator because the act is a breach of the peace. If that reasoning is bolstered by the fact that the victim perceived a weapon, that makes the assault a more serious assault, but it does not justify a finding of an additional element that the weapon was, in fact, dangerous.

And now, with Buttimer, the SJC has reaffirmed this line of thinking that what matters is the apparent ability of the object to cause harm.  That's a fine and good reason to warrant the victim's fear that they will be hurt -- making an otherwise non-crimnal act a crime. But the SJC uses the same evidence to establish the further element of the armed nature of that assault, which makes the crime a felony.  It might make more sense if the Court were not explicitly doing so in an analysis of the degree to which the "public peace" is breached, but that's the ground on which the SJC decided to defend its decision.  The answer should be that since what we are talking about is the degree of the breach of the public peace, the Court should only count the fact that the thing the defendant was holding appeared to be a weapon once -- to make the conduct an assault.  To count it again toward a second element is unfair; the Court should have to look to some additional fact, like the operability of the gun, to prove that the conduct was not just a crime, but also a felony.

 

 

Murder Conviction Reversed Due to False Testimony

A defendant's conviction cannot stand based on false testimony, even if he did not challenge the testimony at the time of trial, and even when the Commonwealth made no attempt to cover it up.  That is the result of the decision in Commonwealth Ware, decided by the SJC on July 26, 2019.  In Darryene Ware's case, the defendant was convicted of murder based, in part, on testimony by a police officer that the defendant had given contradictory statements about where he was immediately prior to the murder.  The officer testified that the defendant had initially told him that his friend had picked him up near a Dunkin Donuts, but that the defendant later changed his story and said he was picked up at his house.  A recording of the interview showed that the Defendant had never said he was picked up near the Dunkin Donuts, and "pointedly denied on at least four occasions picked up there despite the police officers' questions and comments suggesting that he was." 

The Commonwealth argued to the SJC that becasue the defendnat did not object to this tesimony or try to counter it at trial, the implication must be that there was a strategic reason he did not challenge it, and that as a result he should not be able to challenge it on appeal.  The SJC acknowledged that there were some cases that suggested that was a rule, but held that "where the testimony is blatantly false and pertains to an issue central to the Commonwealth's case, a defendant's ability to discern thestatement's falsity does not absolve prosecutorsof theirdutyto correct."

There are a number of things to observe about this. First, even though the SCJ reached the right result, it still did it in terms of addressing the obligations of the prosecutor, rather than the rights of the Defendant. Too often the courts get wrapped up in the question about whether a police officer or a prosecutor acted malicously, and when the court (inevitably) finds that the police officer or the prosecutor may have just made a mistake, the court then denies any relief to the defendant.  The better answer in a case like this would have been to simply say that whatever the obligations of the Commonwealth might have been, the Defendant has a right to a fair trial, and that one aspect of fairness is that the jury only hear evidence that is not demonstrably false.  I quite doubt we will ever get there.

This case also illustrates the reason why talking to the police in the context of a criminal investigation is never a good idea. Look here -- the defendant "pointedly" and "repeatedly" denied the suggestions made by the police, but apparently that was not enough to stop the officer from testifying that he did, in fact, say something he did not say.  Furhter, that was enough to satisfy a jury, and the defendant was convicted. Of murder.  It is only because of the happenstance that the interview was recorded that the truth came out.

If you or someone you know is the subject of a police investigation, contact a lawyer before saying anyting to the police.

SJC Orders Suppression of Evidence

On July 26, 2019,the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court took the unusual step of overturning a trial court order denying the defendant's motion to suppress. The trial court in a criminal case has the authority to exclude from evidence any evidence that is obtained illegally.  However, the rules governing police conduct in the acquisition of evidence are so shot through with exceptions that any trial judge who is inclined to uphold the conduct of the police as a general matter will probably be able to find an exception that fits any case in front of him/her.  On appeal, the court of appeals and the SJC usually defer to the trial court, saying that whatever their view of the evidence may be, it is for the trial court to make determinations about credibility of the evidence.

It is not terribly uncommon for the SJC to reverse a trial court's order granting a motion to suppress evidence, but it is extremely unusual for the SJC to reverse a trial court's order denying one.  That's what it did in Commonwealth v. Tavares.

In Commonwealth v. Tavares, the police were investigating a murder, and received information that a Chevy Malibu had been involved. The next day, an officer saw a Chevy Malibu and pulled it over.  He could not justify the stop of the Malibu on the basis of the murder investigation because there are thousands of such vehicle, and this one didn't even fit the description.  However, the officer decided to stop the Malibu anyway because he said that he saw someone in the back seat that he had a warrant for.

After he stopped the Malibu, as he was walking up, the officer realized that the person he had a warrant to arrest was not present.  The officer then engaged in small talk with the driver, and learned that the Malibu was a rental, and that no one in the car was listed on the rental agreement.  He then told everyone to get out, and held the car to be picked up and returned to the rental company.  After that, a witness identified it as the vehicle involved in the murder, at which point the police got a warrant to search it.

The SJC held that "the stop should have concluded as soon as Detective Schaaf realized he had mistakenly identified the rear passenger, and nothing else had caused concern."  The SJC also held that the Detectiv's knowledge that the vehicle was rented "derived solely from an 'investigatory conversation for which [he] had no lawful basis.'"  Therefore, the reason to order its occupants out, and search the car, was itself derived from the unlawful continued seizure of the vehicle and its occupants after the Detective realized he had no reason to hold them.

Here, the SJC came very close to -- but held back from -- establishing a rule that the fact that a person other than the one listed on the rental agreement is driving a vehicle establishes probable cause for the charge of using a motor vehicle without authority. This is a favorite trick of the Boston Police, in particular.  Boston Police routinely pull over rented vehicles for minor or made up traffic infractions because they think that rental vehicles are often used to transport drugs.  They then use the stop to try to generate a reason to arrest the driver and search the car, hoping to find drugs.  They are wrong because most rental agreements explicitly permit the renter to give permission to any licensed driver, but the police just ignore that part of the contract and say that the rental is limited to the person whose name appears on the paperwork.

This trick has been used to justify countless unlawful stops and searches.  The SJC almost had a chance to address the issue, but ultimately passed because whether the renter had the right to lend the car to a friend or not, that fact was the fruit of the unlawful detention of the vehicle and its occupants, so even if the police were right about their reading of the law, it didn't matter.

As a result, Mr. Paulo Tavares will have a retrial of his 2011 murder conviction.

If you or someone you know has been the subject of a criminal investigation, contact us immediately for a free and private consultation.

Responding to Massachusetts Arrest Warrants

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

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

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

The Difference Between These Two Warrants

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

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

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

How to Respond if a Warrant is Issued for Your Arrest

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to Determine if a Warrant is Issued for Your Arrest

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

Speak with an Experienced Criminal Defense

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

Being Charged with a Criminal Offense Out of State

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

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

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

Jurisdiction Issues

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

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

Court Appearances can be Complicated

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

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

Posting Bail

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

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

Speak with an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

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

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

Entrapment and Drug Stings

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

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

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

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

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

How Sting Operations Work

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

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

The Potential for Entrapment

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

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

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

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

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

Speak with an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer

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

Three Things You Should Know About Fentanyl Trafficking Charges

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

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

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

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

There are Four Elements to a Drug Trafficking Offense in Massachusetts

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

  • A person knowingly or intentionally

  • Either actually or constructively possessed fentanyl

  • The fentanyl was more than 10 grams

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

There are a Number of Defenses to Trafficking Charges

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

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

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

Elevated Penalties for Massachusetts Drug Trafficking

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

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

Speak with an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

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

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

Defenses to Charges of Inappropriate Conduct

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

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

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

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

Efforts by Massachusetts to Enforce Teacher/Student Misconduct Laws

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

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

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

Ways Teachers can Protect Themselves From Criminal Charges

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

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

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

  • Pay close attention to a student’s body language

  • Remain respectful of students’ boundaries

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

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

  • Uphold boundaries concerning sexual or suggestive behavior

Contact a Boston Criminal Defense Attorney

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

Contact attorney Edward Molari today for assistance.

Three Ways to Defend Against Armed Robbery Charges in Massachusetts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You Did Not Commit the Offense

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

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

  • Challenging the accuracy of a witness testimony

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

  • Showing that any identification procedures were prejudicial and unreliable

Prosecution Cannot Establish the Elements of an Offense

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

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

You Performed the Robbery Under Duress

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

Speak with an Experienced Massachusetts Criminal Defense Lawyer

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

Contact attorney Molari today to schedule a free initial consultation.

Ways to Defeat Massachusetts Assault and Battery Charges

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

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

Showing that Prosecution Failed to Prove Each Element of an Offense

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

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

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

Dismissal of Charges

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

Establish That the Offense Did Not Occur

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

Proving Motivation to Make False Allegations

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

Speak with an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

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

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