Articles Posted in Celebrity Crimes

Sally Struthers, best known as her character “Gloria” in the 1970’s sitcom “All In The Family” will have her day in court for her drunk driving charge on September 23, 2013. Apparently, the actress was arrested last summer while she was performing at the Ogunquit Playhouse in the play “Nine To Five.” According to reports, Struthers was arrested at approximately 12:30 a.m. on September 12, 2012. The trial will take place a little over a year after the incident. She did not have any blood drawn and did not take a breath test.

In Massachusetts, in order for the government to prevail on a case on driving under the influence of alcohol it has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was driving the vehicle, on a public way and was under the influence. It is important to understand the “driving” in Massachusetts does NOT just mean having the car moving on the road. Simply having the keys in the ignition can constitute driving. There have been occasions in which a motorist has pulled over in a parking lot, believing it is best not
to drive, and left the keys in the ignition in order to listen to the radio or for heat and is still charged with “operating” under the influence. The fact that the car was not moving does not matter, the simply fact of having the keys in the ignition can constitute “operation” in Massachusetts. Therefore, if you are driving and think you need to pull over, take the keys out of the ignition!

In Massachusetts, the reason most cases go to trial is that a defendant claims that he or she is not “under the influence.” The Commonwealth generally calls police witnesses to testify to observations made relative to the operation of the car and what happened after the office approached the vehicle. An experienced Massachusetts drunk driving attorney can conduct an excellent cross examination to discredit the police officers. For example, if a car was pulled over because a motorist went through a red light or stop sign, a successful Boston defense attorney can highlight alternative reasons for the motor vehicle infraction such as bad weather and/or poor sign location or simply that the officer is not telling the truth or is mistaken.

Additionally, Massachusetts prosecutors often have the officers testify to the manner in which the motorist produced requested items such as a license and registration. In the event the officer testifies that the items were not produced in the manner in which he or she believed was appropriate an experienced Boston area drunk driving attorney can conduct an effective cross examination to take the punch out of the direct examination. For example, the police have been trained in asking specific questions and know their routine. For a nervous motorist, this type of situation is stressful and nervewracking so just listening and responding to the demands as requested is indicative of sobriety NOT being under the influence.

The Commonwealth also often relies on breath tests and blood tests to prove that the defendant’s blood alcohol was over the .08 limit. In the event a client has taken on of these tests there are many avenues that can be pursued to get this evidence suppressed or extrapolate the reading, taken at the station, back to the time that the client was driving and the result may very well have been within the legal limit at the time the vehicle was being operated. Relative to suppressing this information, it is important to examine all of the circumstances of the initial stop and the administration of the breathalyzer to ensure the stop was legal and the breathalyzer was properly administered. If any improprieties occurred in these areas a motion to suppress should be filed which can often lead to a favorable disposition or acquittal of a client.

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Actor Charlie Sheen has been arrested and charged with menacing a deadly weapon, second-degree felony assault and criminal mischief. According to The Aspen Daily News, upon conviction, felony menacing usually carries a potential sentencing range of one to three years in prison, and second-degree assault usually carries a range of two to six years in prison. Criminal mischief in Colorado does not include a mandatory minimum prison sentence upon conviction.

Sheen’s arrested was prompted by a 911 call to the police from his wife Brooke Mueller. According to reports, an argument began when Meuller informed Sheen that she wanted a divorce and custody of their twin boys. Mueller claimed that Sheen grabbed her by the upper neck and threatened her with a knife. It has been reported that Mueller had high levels of alcohol in her system at the time she made the report. As we all know, there are two sides to every story. Sheen denies his wife’s allegations. This type of case is categorized as a case of “domestic violence.” When police are called to a residence because of an allegation of “domestic abuse” usually one of the parties is arrested and it is usually the man.

If you have been arrested and charged with a crime of domestic violence you must have an experienced Massachusetts defense lawyer on your side. In most circumstances, the police advise the complaining party of his or right to have a civil restraining order. The standard for the issuance of a restraining order is low. Although a restraining order is a civil order, criminal charges may issue if there an allegation that the restraining order has been violated.

If you have been charged in a case of “domestic violence,” developing a strategy and conducting a complete investigation must take place early. Based on the facts of the case it is often important to document and/or photograph any injuries to the defendant, interview witnesses and take pictures of the scene in order to mount a successful defense.

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A two count felony complaint issued charging rhythm and blues singer Chris Brown with assault and criminal threats on a person referred to as “Robyn F.” “Robyn F.” is believed to be fellow singer and girlfriend Rihanna. According to news reports, Brown briefly appeared in a Los Angeles Court House and the arraignment was postponed until April 6, 2009. It has been reported that an affidavit has been filed indicating that Brown repeatedly puncehd “Robyn F.” and that during the altercation her mouth filled up with blood that spilled over into the car. Many sources reported that the physical altercation took place after Rihanna read a text message from a former girlfriend on Brown’s phone. Although Rihanna was not in court it was reported that she did not want a restraining order to issue that would prevent Brown from contacting her.

As a result of the incident Rihanna apparently received serious injuries including bruises to her face. Rumors have been circulating that the couple may have recently become married. In Massachusetts one spouse cannot be forced to testfiy against another spouse. This is commonly referred to as the marital privilege. The privilege belongs to the witness and not the defendant. Therefore, if the victim wants to testify he or she can waive the privilege and the Commonwealth can call him or her to testify at trial. Furthermore, even if a witness invokes the marital privilege if there is other evidence that the state can present during a trial the case can still go forward.

In Massachusetts, cases involving domestic violence often are prosecuted without the cooperation of the alleged victim. The prosecution may collect evidence from other sources. For example, if a search warrant was executed, evidence [such as bloody clothing or in some cases weapon(s)] may have been collected to support the government’s case. Also, the 911 tape may provide some evidence that the prosecution can use.

In Massachusetts, the use of the information on the 911 tape is not always admissible because the defendant has a right to confront witnesses. However, in certain situations the Massachusetts Courts have held that the state can use the tape. If you are facing criminal charges and the prosecution is attempting to use a 911 tape it is imperative that you contact an experience Massachusetts defense attorney to move to have the tape excluded from evidence. The exclusion of this evidence often destroys the Commonwealth’s case and results in an acquittal or a dismissal.

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Popular swimming phenom and eight gold medal winner Michael Phelps has been suspended by USA due to the picture of him holding what is believed to be a marijuana bong. The now famous picture of Phelps surfaced in Star magazine. According to reports, the incident occurred in November, when Phelps attended a house party while visiting the University of South Carolina. Phelps has apologized to his fans and referred to his behavior as regrettable. Phelps has never tested positive for any banned substance.

Phelps has been in the spotlight before for “regrettable behavior” including a previous conviction for operating under the influence of alcohol often referred to as driving under the influence or DUI in Massachusetts.

In Massachusetts, a conviction for driving under the influence can carry a sentence of up to two years in jail. The District Attorney has to prove that you were driving a car on a public way and that you were under the influence of alcohol. Any one of these areas should be challenged when defending an OUI case in a Massachusetts. To prove operation the District Attorney does not have to show that you were actually driving. Massachusetts Courts have held that starting the engine of the car or making use of the power provided by the engine constitutes operation. Massachusetts Courts have held that putting the keys in the car’s ignition can be enough to establish operation.

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