There is an inherent desire for anyone accused of committing a crime to defend himself by telling his own “story”. Innocent people charged with a crime want everyone to hear that they did not do it and they want those words to come out of their own mouth. People charged with crimes that exceed what they actually did want to explain to everyone what “really” happened. When preparing a criminal case most of my clients ask me “Is it a good idea to testify at my criminal trial?”. The answer varies from case to case. This post examines some of the thoughts criminal defense lawyers have on this subject. Continue reading →
Since marijuana possession of up to an ounce was decriminalized in Massachusetts more and more people have been taking liberties with their use and distribution of the drug. There is a false sense of security that prevails among young people in particular that using and distributing marijuana is legal. People hide under the “protection” of medical marijuana cards. They openly and publicly smoke the drug. And yes, many people have created small businesses where they sell pot for profit or simply to pay for their personal supply. So it is not surprising that marijuana sales prosecutions are becoming more common these days. The defendants are mostly young kids, ages eighteen to thirty. When they get caught and face charges the first thing they ask me is “will I go to jail for selling marijuana?”. This post answers this question. Continue reading →
Having a pending criminal case in Massachusetts can be a very unsettling experience. You might not be able to sleep. You could have trouble concentrating at work. Your social life might be impacted. Most people simply can’t control the constant worrying. Consequently, I am often asked “how long will it be before my criminal case is over?”. The answer varies depending on your particular case. This article examines factors that may expedite or delay the process of resolving criminal cases. Continue reading →
Being on probation is in some instances worse than having an open case. You will likely have obligations to the probation department that have been ordered by the Court. You might have to pay monthly fees. You may have to make restitution payments on a regular basis. You could be obligated to report weekly, monthly or even daily. Drug testing or psychological evaluations are possibilities. You might have to abstain from otherwise legal activities as a condition of probation. If you do not comply with the court ordered conditions your probation officer can issue a probation violation notice requiring you to go to court and explain why you have failed to honor your probation obligations. If you then fail to appear in court a warrant will issue. If you are in default on probation and there is an outstanding warrant there are some things you can do to help yourself. Continue reading →
If you fail to appear in court when scheduled to do so you will be defaulted. This may or may not be your fault but regardless you can assume that if you are in default an arrest warrant has issued. So naturally, when you finally do appear in court you can expect that the issue of bail will arise and you will have to convince a judge to release you or to set an affordable, modest bail. Default warrants and bail hearings in Massachusetts go hand in hand. This article looks at some issues associated with both and how you can help yourself when you are in default on a criminal case. Continue reading →
In Massachusetts there is a major difference between possession of drugs and possession with the intent to distribute drugs. With the exception of marijuana possession with the intent to distribute drugs is a felony. Law enforcement can be aggressive by charging people with drug felonies at times when only possession of the substance should be charged. Frequently people charged with Massachusetts drug felonies retain me to fight the charges claiming they possessed the drug for personal use and never intended to distribute the substance. This is common and has prompted me to write on the difference between possession and possession with intent to distribute drugs in Massachusetts.
Aside from lawyers not many people want to go to court. The thought of being called as a witness can be intimidating. The majority of people simply don’t want to get involved in criminal legal matters. Very few people want to testify against someone. No one wants to take time out of his or her day to wait around a courthouse, possibly for hours, only to be inserted into other people’s problems. As such, it is not surprising that I get asked the question: “if I get a summons or a subpoena do I have to go to court?”. This post examines answers to that question in Massachusetts. Continue reading →
One of the questions I am asked by people who expect to be charged with a crime is the amount of bail they will have to post once the case gets filed. The answer varies from case to case and from person to person. The answer to this question also depends on the judge hearing the bail argument, the district attorney prosecuting the case and the county where the case will be prosecuted. There are no formulas for setting bail in Massachusetts. I was recently retained on two very different rape cases and the amount of bail set pleasantly surprised both of these clients. Each asked me “is there a standard bail for rape cases in Massachusetts”. This post explores this issue. Continue reading →
Forty-nine out of the fifty United States have laws making writing a bad check a crime. The crime is known as larceny by check. The Massachusetts law prohibiting this conduct is G.L. c. 266 Section 37. That statute makes it a crime to write or pass a check knowing that there do not exist sufficient funds to cover the check. Simply passing the instrument satisfies the prosecution’s burden of going forward with these charges unless the accused covers the bad check within two days of being notified that the check has bounced. Fraudulent checks exceeding two hundred fifty dollars can result in a felony complaint issuing. Several times each month I get a call about one of these cases. The client usually asks if he or she can be prosecuted for bouncing a check. The answer is usually “yes, you can be prosecuted or that crime” however the likelihood of being convicted depends on factors discussed below. Continue reading →
Perhaps the most common complaint I get from clients about police officers involves stops, searches and seizures for apparently no reason. The client will tell me that he wasn’t doing anything and that the cops searched him anyway. Or someone might say that he was pulled over, removed from his car and that he and the car were searched. Now keep in mind none of these people would need my services unless the police found something during the illegal search that suggested a crime was committed. So the next question I get asked is “how can I prove that the police searched me for no reason?”. This article examines what criminal defense lawyers can do in these situations.