Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

Plea Bargain Agreements

Law enforcement organizations make many arrests, ranging from violent crimes to traffic violations. Most jurisdictions have a backlog of cases to hear. You might think that all of these arrests result in criminal trials by which the prosecution (state or federal government) takes the individuals arrested or charged with a crime to court for a conviction and punishment.

In reality, this does not always happen. A majority of criminal cases are resolved through plea bargain agreements. In a plea bargain, the defendant agrees to admit to committing a crime and the prosecution agrees to be more lenient by dropping some of the charges and providing a lighter sentence. If the defendant had gone to trial and lost the case, the punishment would usually have been more severe.

In Massachusetts, plea bargaining is a significant part of the court and criminal justice system. A large percent of criminal cases in the Commonwealth result in some form of plea agreement instead of going to a trial by jury. However, individuals need to make sure that they fully understand plea bargain agreements, and the advantages or drawbacks they might have on their cases. There are many factors that can impact your plea bargain agreement, such as the specific facts involving your case, your criminal history, or your financial situation. In some cases, the decision to accept a plea bargain is not always easy. You should discuss plea bargain agreements with your criminal defense attorney and allow him or her to explain plea deals and their impacts on your case.

In a plea bargain agreement, the prosecution and defense will each give up something to get something in return. The prosecution gives up the right to take a case to trial and prosecute the case to the fullest extent of the law. However, the prosecution will still be able to make a conviction against a defendant. On the other hand, a defendant agrees to plead guilty of a crime and waives the right to a jury trial. In return, he or she experiences a more favorable treatment or punishment from the prosecution.

Usually, when your criminal defense attorney advises you to consider a plea agreement, he or she feels a jury or judge would find the defendant guilty of the crime. Plea agreements are created when there is overwhelming evidence against the defendant by the prosecution. Going to trial is not advisable, and the plea deal can become a benefit to the defendant who will not have to face a trial by jury.

Plea bargaining offers many practical benefits, such as that defendants do not have to spend time and money defending themselves in a court trial. The prosecution will save time and money by not having to go through a long trial. The prosecution and defense do not have to endure the uncertainty of a trial. Also, the court system does not have to spend time conducting a trial for every crime committed.

If you have been charged with a crime and want to know more about plea bargain agreements for your case, you need to contact a criminal defense attorney. 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.

 

Sexting and Child Pornography Laws

Another Sandusky is back in the news for inappropriate behavior involving a minor. This time, it is Jerry Sandusky's adopted son, Jeffrey, who was arrested and charged with allegedly sexting sexual comments and suggestive messages to two teenage girls. If this is true, he may be sitting in prison right next to his father, Jerry, the former Penn State University assistant football coach, who is serving at least 30 years in prison for child abuse.

Sexting is on the rise. Sexting is the transmittal of nude or suggestive material or language via text messaging from a cell phone, smartphone, computer, or other computer-based devices.  Sending such messages to unwilling individuals and minors can lead to serious criminal charges and consequences. If you are charged with this crime, you should contact a criminal justice attorney immediately.

Sexting is a relatively new crime. At present, there are no sexting laws that punish those found guilty of this act. However, if sexual images or materials are sent via a text message to a child under 18 years old, the perpetrator may be prosecuted under the Commonwealth's child pornography laws. The penalties are stiff and unforgiving if convicted. Below are some excerpts from Massachusetts General Law and the punishment, if convicted of child pornography and sex crimes involving minors.

MGLA 272 28 - Matter harmful to minors; dissemination; possession

Section 28. Whoever purposefully disseminates to a person he knows or believes to be a minor any matter harmful to minors, as defined in section 31, knowing it to be harmful to minors, or has in his possession any such matter with the intent to disseminate the same to a person he knows or believes to be a minor, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 5 years or in a jail or house of correction for not more than 21/2 years, or by a fine of not less than $1000 nor more than $10,000 for the first offense, not less than $5000 nor more than $20,000 for the second offense, or not less than $10,000 nor more than $30,000 for a third or subsequent offenses, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

MGLA 272 §29 Dissemination or possession of obscene matter; punishment, defense

Section 29. Whoever disseminates any matter which is obscene, knowing it to be obscene, or whoever has in his possession any matter which is obscene, knowing it to be obscene, with the intent to disseminate the same, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than five years or in a jail or house of correction for not more than two and one-half years or by a fine of not less than one thousand nor more than ten thousand dollars for the first offense, not less than five thousand nor more than twenty thousand dollars for the second offense, or not less than ten thousand nor more than thirty thousand dollars for the third and subsequent offenses, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

MGLA 272 §29A - Posing or exhibiting a child in a state of nudity or sexual conduct; punishment

Section 29A. (a) Whoever, either with knowledge that a person is a child under eighteen years of age or while in possession of such facts that he should have reason to know that such person is a child under eighteen years of age, and with lascivious intent, hires, coerces, solicits or entices, employs, procures, uses, causes, encourages, or knowingly permits such child to pose or be exhibited in a state of nudity, for the purpose of representation or reproduction in any visual material, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for a term of not less than ten nor more than twenty years, or by a fine of not less than ten thousand nor more than fifty thousand dollars, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

MGLA 272 §29B - Dissemination of visual material of child in state of nudity or sexual conduct; punishment

Section 29B. (a) Whoever, with lascivious intent, disseminates any visual material that contains a representation or reproduction of any posture or exhibition in a state of nudity involving the use of a child who is under eighteen years of age, knowing the contents of such visual material or having sufficient facts in his possession to have knowledge of the contents thereof, or has in his possession any such visual material knowing the contents or having sufficient facts in his possession to have knowledge of the contents thereof, with the intent to disseminate the same, shall be punished in the state prison for a term of not less than ten nor more than twenty years or by a fine of not less than ten thousand nor more than fifty thousand dollars or three times the monetary value of any economic gain derived from said dissemination, whichever is greater, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

As you can see, the punishment for child pornography and sex crimes involving minors may have severe consequences and punishment. A conviction for these crimes is an automatic felony. Crimes involving children and pornography are never a misdemeanor in the Commonwealth. These crimes are considered to be sex crimes, and a convicted perpetrator will have to register as a sex offender for the next 20 years in Massachusetts. This will create personal hardship and public embarrassment to those found guilty of these crimes.

If you have been accused or charged with disseminating child pornography, sexting to a minor or other sex crime involving a child, you should immediately consult a criminal defense attorney. The consequences can be devastating and a conviction will most likely include jail or prison time. 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.

Massachusetts Breathalyzer Drama Comes to an End

The ongoing drama involving faulty breathalyzer tests in the Commonwealth may see an end with a victory for some and defeat for others. The journey to this point has been a statewide saga involving law enforcement, defendants, attorneys, prosecutors, and the court. Here is some background to bring you up to speed on this evolving issue that impacts so many people facing OUI/DUI charges in Massachusetts.

In 2011, Massachusetts introduced a new breath-test machine called the Alcotest 9510. The device was manufactured by Draeger Safety Diagnostics Inc. of Irving, Texas. However, some say the Alcotest 9510 was not tailored to the Commonwealth's regulations and was not operating correctly during some tests. In fact, the state's Executive Office of Public Safety and Security said that some breathalyzer machines were never programmed with the accurate calibration settings for the state. On the other side of the story, a small number of breath tests conducted by law enforcement on suspected drunk drivers were not accurate because of mistakes made by the arresting officer and not because the machines were not working properly. Does the truth lie somewhere in the middle? You need to ask a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney.

Meanwhile, over 500 defendants have joined a consolidated case that is being heard in Concord District Court that challenges the reliability of the breathalyzer test and seeks to exclude blood-alcohol readings from the drunk driving cases involed. Furthermore, hundreds of drunk driving cases in Massachusetts have been put on hold as a judge prepares to rule on whether the evidence produced by Alcotest 9510 is sound and admissible in court.

The verdict is now out in this ever-changing saga of the faulty breathalyzer tests. Recently, Judge Robert Brennan, Justice of the District Court, gave his ruling in this matter. "Accordingly, the Court DENIES the consolidated defendants’ Motion to Exclude Breath Alcohol Content Percentage Results Using the Alcotest 9510 and Any Opinion Testimony for any breathalyzer results from a machine calibrated and certified after September 14, 2014, but ALLOWS the motion as to any results produced by a device calibrated and certified between June of 2012 and September 14, 2014, subject to the possibility of a case-by-case demonstration of the reliability of OAT’s calibration of a particular device to a trial judge in the court in which the Commonwealth seeks to offer the result as evidence." (COMMONWEALTH v. EVANDO ANANIAS, CHRISTIAN FIGUEROA, AND OTHERS)

In his 33-page decision, Judge Brennan, ruled that the between June 2012 and September 14, 2014 the Alcotest 9510 did not produce scientifically reliable blood-alcohol readings in the Commonwealth. This is a victory for those whose drunk and driving arrests occurred prior to September 14, 2014 but a crushing defeat for those whose arrests took place after this date. The evidence revealed from Alcotest 9510 could be included in your court case.

If you want to know how this recent ruling will affect your pending OUI/DUI case in Massachusetts consult a criminal defense attorney. An OUI/DUI conviction can have devastating effects on your professional and personal life. 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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What is an Expungement?

A criminal conviction can create havoc in your life. It may make it difficult to find a job, rent an apartment, go back to school, or adopt or foster a child. Your criminal history can lead people to shun you. However, there are ways to have an arrest or conviction erased from your history in some cases. Everyone deserves a second chance.

This is done by way of an expungement. Although law enforcement may have possession of your criminal record, an expungement will keep the information out of the public eye. Therefore, schools, employers, or landlords will not be privy to the information in your criminal background. After the expungement process is final, you do not have to disclose the conviction or arrest on a job or apartment application. The information is sealed from the public, and there is no reason for you to disclose it.

You need to speak with a criminal defense attorney who can determine if an expungement can apply to your particular case. Each jurisdiction has its own expungement restrictions. In the Commonwealth, there are many factors to determine if an individual is eligible for expungement. They may include:

  • The passage of time since the arrest or conviction of the crime or misdeed

  • The seriousness and nature of the crime committed

  • The perpetrator’s overall criminal record, background, or history

Many times, arrests or convictions made during the teen years can be expunged, but more serious crimes committed in adulthood may not be easy to erase. Your attorney can let you know if you qualify for an expungement. While the expungement process varies, it typically involves filing an application or petition for an expungement. A criminal defense attorney can help you understand the various forms necessary to start the process and explain their importance to your case. The forms needed for an expungement may include the following:

  • Certificate of eligibility

  • Petition to expunge your records

  • Acceptance of service

  • A Prosecutor and victim statement

  • A victim checklist

  • Consent and waiver of hearing

  • Petitioner's reply

  • Findings of fact and conclusions law

After the court grants a petition or application, it will award an order of expungement that will be served to other organizations to ensure that any records in their files about you are sealed or removed. These organizations may include:

  • The police department or sheriff's office of your city

  • The county jail in your area

  • The state's department of corrections (prisons)

In short, no record of an expunged arrest or conviction will appear should someone search your criminal record. An expungement is like giving yourself a second chance in life, clearing your criminal record, and starting over again.

A criminal record or background can have a negative impact on your life and future. If you are considering an expungement of your criminal record, you should speak with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney to see if your situation qualifies for an expungement. Boston Criminal Defense Attorney, Edward Molari can provide you with legal advice about an expungement. He can help you navigate the process and file the proper paperwork and documents to get the process started. 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.

 

Reckless Driving

Young drivers or even adults who think reckless driving and racing cars on the roadway is fun and exciting should think twice. Law enforcement views it as a siginifcant offense that carries severe consequences.

Reckless driving is a serious offense that involves moving violations or actions by drivers that endanger the safety of others on the road. It goes beyond just carelessly or improperly driving a vehicle. It is considered a major moving traffic violation.  If you are charged with reckless driving, you should call a criminal defense attorney immediately to discuss your legal options.

There is a difference between careless driving and reckless driving. Careless driving is considered to be driving a vehicle without caution. An example of careless driving could be not using a turn signal or failing to stop at a red traffic light or sign. Reckless driving entails more.

Reckless driving is often seen as an intentional mental state to disregard the rules of the highway. A driver fails to abide by common driving procedures and use common sense. Driving recklessly shows a disregard for human life or property while you are operating a vehicle. It is sometimes called negligent operation of a vehicle or driving to endanger. There are many different circumstances that may result in a reckless driving charge, which may include:

  • Speeding

  • Driving too slowly

  • Being distracted via phone, text messages, or social media tools

  • Creating your own lane

  • Drag racing

  • Driving the wrong way down a one-way street

  • Operating a vehicle with an obstructive view

  • Making an unauthorized pass in a no-pass zone

  • Going to sleep while driving

  • Making unsafe vehicle movements

  • Driving actions that result in injury or an accident

  • Cutting off other motorists on the highway

  • Traveling excessive speeds between 90 and more

  • Operating a vehicle at night without using lights

  • Driving too closely behind another vehicle (tailgating)

According to Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 90, § 24, a reckless or negligent operation conviction can be harsh in the Commonwealth. You can receive two weeks to two years in jail or pay fines up to $200. Any driver convicted of a reckless or negligent driving office will face a discretionary license suspension. A first offense carries a 60-day suspension. A second offense within three years will result in a minimum one-year loss of license. Massachusetts has incorporated a Safe Driver Insurance Program, which may reward you for a good driving record or punish you for a bad one. A reckless driving violation will cause drivers to automatically face increases in their driver's insurance for up to three years.

If you have been accused or charged with negligent or reckless driving, you should immediately consult a criminal defense attorney. The consequences can be devastating and may include jail, prison, and huge 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.

 

False Imprisonment

False imprisonment is an intentional confinement of someone without his or her consent or the legal authority to confine someone. False imprisonment or unlawful restraint charges are considered quite serious in a court of law. Even when you think you are justified for committing the false imprisonment of an individual, an arrest or charge can have detrimental effects on you, and you need to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney. In most cases, to be convicted of this crime, a prosecutor must show the following:

 

  • The perpetrator intended to confine a person within established boundaries

  • The victim did not consent to the confined

  • The confinement was unlawful

 

Depending on the severity of the crime, a false imprisonment charge can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony. The victim, who has experienced false imprisonment, can also seek civil claims for damages. Punishment for being found guilty of this crime may include probation, fines, jail, or prison. A criminal defense attorney can help you create a defense for your case.

If someone mistakenly locks you in a closet not knowing you are inside and you are left in the closet overnight, this does not constitute false imprisonment, just an unfortunate accident. However, if your boss willfully pushed you into the office closet, locked the door, cut off the lights, and left you there all night as punishment for not making your monthly sales quota, then that would be an example of false imprisonment. You have a legal case and should find an attorney to explain your rights. Also, in the workplace, if your boss threats or detains you longer than normal, it may also be viewed as a case of false imprisonment.

Adults are not the only ones who can be a victim of false imprisonment. Children are often the targets of false imprisonment. False imprisonment of a minor happens when the detainee is younger than the age of adulthood. In most states, this is under 18 years of age. False imprisonment of a child or minor is a serious crime and is punished more harshly than if the victim was an adult. Other examples of false imprisonment may include:

  • Holding or restraining a person in a manner that limits his or her freedom

  • Grabbing an individual without his or her consent

  • Keeping someone detained for an unreasonable amount of time

  • A law enforcement officer or a security guard holding a person beyond the normal amount of time necessary

  • Confining someone to a room without his or her consent

If you have been accused or charged with false imprisonment (unlawful restraint) of an individual, 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.

 

 

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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